Why we’re launching the Croydon Citizen Supporters Programme

By - Wednesday 15th February, 2017

Photo by Rob Wilson Jr at Fluid4Sight, used with permission.

The Citizen will turn five years old in November. It certainly doesn’t feel that way, though, to those of us who got it up and running back in 2012. After a year of building a reputation as a news and views site for Croydon that took a positive look at our town and provided a platform for everyone, we went into print at the end of 2013.

We’ve come a long way from the WordPress site that I had the idea for in a flat on George Street. Not only a popular read for many thousands of Croydonians every month, it has grown into a well-oiled machine, with a small and dedicated team at its heart. Since we went into print, we have:

  • produced thirty print editions, and distributed more than ⅓ million copies
  • expanded our monthly distribution to 15,000 copies available all around the borough
  • established distribution points everywhere from coffee shops to railway stations to libraries to tech hubs, including dedicated branded outdoor dispensers
  • run a series of community events from election debates to book launches, most recently presenting more than fifty of our readers’ ideas in the book version of ‘I would make Croydon better by’
  • published articles from members of all political parties and none, maintaining our commitment to pluralism, along with the rest of the ‘six pillars of the Citizen
  • maintained a thriving online presence with new content published every weekday on thecroydoncitizen.com

But this is not enough for us: we plan to do a lot more.

With the organisation that we have built through the support that you have already given us, we have the capacity to publish more content and reach many more readers. With the right finances, we can also finally achieve one of our long term aims: hiring a full-time staff journalist. With this person on our team, we can ensure that the community always has access to an investigative resource, whatever befalls the wider media, and increase far further our ability to train our citizen journalists to the highest standards of writing and reporting.

With your help, we can make our plans a reality

The thought of Croydon going through the coming years of change without the scrutiny which only a strong local press can provide is horrifying to us. The Citizen’s model – and our plans for its expansion – offers an alternative. Somewhere in which authority can be questioned, and an upbeat but fair platform for all – that’s the role that we want the Croydon Citizen to play as Croydon continues to change.

Photo by Rob Wilson Jr at Fluid4Sight, used with permission.

Only with our readers’ support can we do this. Advertising revenue has got the Citizen to this stage, and will continue to be part of our business model. But three years of experience producing 30 print editions has taught us that we need a strong, recurring and reliable income source that goes beyond advertising alone to reach our goals.

That’s why we’re asking you, our loyal readers, fans, contributors and friends, to help us to take the Citizen to the next level and produce the magazine that Croydon deserves by becoming an official supporter.

As a social enterprise with a strong culture of frugality, the difference that your support makes is practical and substantial:

  • for £9 per month, your supports pay the distribution cost of almost 200 copies
  • for £25 per month your support pays the entire printing costs of a half-page article
  • for a £100 per month your support covers more than 10% of all of our overheads and other costs

Beyond this it will allow us to:

  • grow the length of each month’s paper substantially to a planned length of 64 pages
  • buy, install and maintain more outdoor dispensers in more district centres around the borough so that we can reach a wider audience, and doubling or even tripling our circulation in the process
  • running writing and journalism workshops for contributors, to provide skills to the wider community
  • increase our output online as well as in print, publishing three new articles every weekday
  • carry out more special community projects like ‘I would make Croydon better by’ on top of our work as a publication
  • hire an experienced full-time staff journalist to carry out the kind of investigative reporting that Croydon needs in turbulent times for traditional local media

To say thank you for your kind support:

  • we’ll subscribe you to the Croydon Citizen’s print edition, and we’ll deliver each edition to your home
  • we’ll send you regular email updates on progress against our plans for the Citizen
  • we’ll print your name credit on our supporters’ page each edition

Croydon isn’t standing still at the moment. It’s changing every day, so it’s not an option for the Croydon Citizen to stand still. We know that we have the experience and the dedication to continue. With your help, we can make our plans a reality.

Support citizen journalism today by signing up as a supporter. 

James Naylor

James Naylor

James grew up in Coulsdon. After a brief spell in Somerset he returned to central Croydon as a useful London base. Since then however, his enthusiasm for Croydon has slowly grown into obsession – leading him to set up Croydon Tours and eventually the Croydon Citizen. James is particularly interested in the power of local media to foster new ways of thinking about communities and how to empower them. He is most interested in putting Croydon in a wider context within London, the economy and across time. During the week, he works for an advertising technology company hailing from Silicon Valley. When he’s not working on Croydon-related projects, he enjoys desperately nerdy but hugely enjoyable boardgames. Views personal, not representative of editorial policy.

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