Fed up with working under the state-run media machine, journalist Yin Yusheng has sought crowd-funding to allow him to report more freely on issues. Yin has uploaded his first crowd-funded piece, an article on Chen Baocheng’s detainment, on Sina Weibo, though this may prove increasingly difficult with the state’s tightened control over microblogs:
Yin, who lost a reporting job at a magazine earlier this year when it changed from a weekly to a monthly, wants to be beholden only to the news-reading public, and is testing whether crowdfunding from online donations can give him a stable income.
In an online mission statement, he says crowdfunding can make a product successful, save a company and bring donations to the weak and vulnerable. “In the same way, it can give us the truth,” he writes.
There already are several self-styled citizen journalists in China publishing online reports on their own websites. Yin said he wants to bring a professional standard to this kind of reporting and thinks colleagues in the industry may follow his lead because such reporting “enjoys a little more sliver of freedom” than working in the state-controlled industry.
Yin has set a limit of 5,000RMB for expenses to dissuade potential high-rollers from influencing his agenda, and also to prove his transparency. He’s even gone so far as to provide his receipts for the 1,955RMB in expenses for his first piece.