News startups flourish after failed independence vote in Scotland

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A Scottish pro independence rally. Credit: Alister.

In the weeks after the people of Scotland voted in a closely contested election to remain a part of the United Kingdom, a divide began to emerge between old and new media.

Almost all traditional newspapers backed a no vote, while blogs, social media and “‘new media’ news sources were almost universally in favor of Yes,” said Stewart Kilpatrick, a former news editor and leader of Digital Yes Scotland in an allmediascotland.com opinion piece.

As a result there has been “lots of cash sloshing around” new media entrepreneurs in Scotland.

“In the aftermath of the referendum result, many different publications and news ventures have come forward. The vast majority of these are looking for crowdfunding to create a mainstream media space that is more balanced towards the idea of independence,” Kilpatrick said.

Last month we brought you the story of satirical news turned real Dateline: Scotland and Freedom TV. Both managed to meet crowdfunding campaign goals in a matter of days following the 45 percent-55 percent vote.

In his All Media Scotland piece, Kilpatrick openly voices concern for the future of new media ventures born out of crowdfunding. They have to think beyond the campaign to survive after money from the crowd is gone, he said.

Kilpatrick points to Wings Over Scotland as an initial success story. Earlier this year the political news website raised more than £100,000 in a matter of weeks but was founded in 2011.

“It’s very exciting that these new models are emerging because, Lord knows, journalism needs a better way of being funded than happens in traditional newspaper companies,” Kilpatrick said.

Outside of media, people in favor of Scottish independence also used crowdfunding to fuel their cause. Read more at The Guardian.

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Khari Johnson
Khari is founder and editor of Through the Cracks: Crowdfunding in Journalism. He also writes about bots and artificial intelligence for VentureBeat. He has built news startups in the U.S. and Europe for the last decade.

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