CAN THE FERRET BE A WATCHDOG? Understanding the launch, growth and prospects of a digital, investigative journalism start-up.

Price, John (2017) CAN THE FERRET BE A WATCHDOG? Understanding the launch, growth and prospects of a digital, investigative journalism start-up. Digital Journalism. ISSN 2167-0811

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Abstract

There has been a recent, rapid growth in the number of digital start-ups seeking sustainable models for doing journalism (Carvajal et al 2012). However, there is a relative lack of detailed, empirical research about such organisations (Wahl-Jorgensen et al 2016). This article addresses this by analysing The Ferret – a recently launched investigative journalism platform threatening to ‘nose up the trousers’ of power in Scotland. Based on in-depth interviews with members of The Ferret’s Board of Directors, the article explores the motivations behind the launch of the co-op, examines its growth to date, and critically assesses its prospects of achieving a sustainable future. It finds The Ferret was a response to three perceived crises: democratic, economic and ethical. Its founders call upon the traditions and mythology of journalism while seeking to offer a new version of what journalism might be. Funded mainly by subscriptions, The Ferret has achieved slow and steady growth, but only survives due to the subsidized labour of its core team. The organisation is now reaching a tipping point where, if it is to endure, it must expand beyond its journalistic base, while building a much fuller understanding of the nature and motivations of its paying audience.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Media > Journalism and Public Relations
Divisions: Faculty of Arts Design and Media > Department of Media
Depositing User: John Price
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2017 15:49
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2017 13:16
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/6905

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