Animal Político turns to crowdfunding to stay independent

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Aristotle famously said, “Man is by nature a political animal.”

This phrase draws on debates of individualism versus collectivism and at its core questions whether we’re all in this life together or, as many cynical non-active citizens like to believe, it’s every man for himself.

That is no longer the ethos of millennials in Mexico that hunger for unfiltered, unapologetic political and social news coverage.

Enter Animal Politico, a Mexican independent news website that has captivated Aristotle’s saying with a fury.

Headquartered in Mexico City, the website hopes to enter the United States political scene in the future but its latest venture involves a crowdfunding campaign to support reporters on three continents.

With partner Round Earth Media, an organization focused on helping the next generation of online journalists, Animal Politico hopes to support reporters who cover underreported issues in Ghana, Jordan and Mexico.

Thus far the Kickstarter campaign has raised $4,400 toward a $27,500 goal.

The campaign ends Nov. 2.

Sponsors like Round Earth Media are important to Animal Politico’s livelihood.

Though Animal Politico possesses a coveted young audience

Independence is vital to remain functional and relevant, said editor-in-chief and site founder Daniel Eilemberg.

To do so they look to a range of revenue sources including consulting, content creation for companies like Coca Cola, event organizing, private sector sponsorship and syndication.

“Financial independence is the only way to obtain editorial independence” he said, during the Sixth Ibero-American Colloquium on Online Journalism, an event organized by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.

Animal Politico launched in 2010 to cover the activities and behind-the-scene happenings of several branches of the Mexican government including Los Pinos where the president lives.

The website is geared toward “political junkies,” much like Politico has become a daily must-read for beltway politics in the United States.

The site’s humble beginnings started as an anonymous Twitter account called “Pajaro Politico” or “Political Bird” and quickly rose to become what it is now, a must-read news site among Mexican youth and political junkies.

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(Cartoon by AnimalPolitico.com)

The website has more than 2.3 million visitors a month.

It has a social media following larger than most traditional media in Mexico, whom most young people see as bias, still following Mexico’s common self-censorship and propaganda machine that still feeds information to most news outlets in the country.

Readers are actively commenting and getting news in real time and where they can read in-depth investigative stories that may have never been told or aired before.

In the future Eilemberg plans to expand Animal Politico into the United States, where AP already received over 100,000 visits each month.

If Animal Politico finds the right formula to keep itself independent and relevant, it just might help awake the sleeping giant of Mexico (as many sociologists of the country refer to millennials inaction in politics and social reforms).

To learn more of what Animal Politico is doing from the bottom up ” see this presentation by its founder at the Paley Center for Media and check out their work in Spanish at Animal Politico.

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Carlos Moreno
Carlos is a freelance photojournalist and part-time fashion staff photographer at Designer Studio Inc. He is based in San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico and does freelance work across California, Baja California and beyond. Carlos is the co-founder and photography / Latin America editor of Through the Cracks. He is also a photo contributor at Getty Images. When he is not taking photos, he is a photo mentor at Las Fotos Project branch of Tijuana.

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