We need your support.
We aim to double our monthly support. Today, we embark on a fundraising drive to expand our work and to continue the advertising-free articles that you have come to expect. I am sharing a report that explains why this work is so important and necessary to advancing a more vibrant, more informed, and more inclusive future for the land and the people of Louisiana.
The Bayou Brief has been a labor of love for all of us, and you have shown your love in return by sharing our stories widely.
Every dollar we receive ensures that we can keep publishing. Currently, we have the resources to support writing by two full-time authors and three freelancers.
We need your help to double that. Donate here.
A Pitch from the Publisher:
Two years ago, before we launched the Bayou Brief, I asked people to believe in an ambitious idea: A digitally-native, Louisiana statewide, member-supported, and nonprofit news and culture publication that would remain both free to read and free from intrusive advertising. The response was overwhelming, and as a consequence, the Bayou Brief has published more than 500 original reports, hired a full-time state Capitol reporter, featured the work of nearly two dozen incredibly talented writers and photojournalists, and attracted more than four million unique readers.
Our reporting has been picked up by both state and national media outlets. Last year, I appeared on MSNBC and CNN on behalf of the Bayou Brief, and this year, I was selected by Gambit as one of its Top 40 Under 40 honorees and named as the 2019 Outstanding Millennial in Journalism at the annual Millennial Awards in New Orleans.
Although I am proud to be the publication’s founder, I did not build the Bayou Brief on my own. Each and every person who has contributed their time or their treasure or both, whether you sent us an idea for a report or chipped in $10 online, is responsible for helping to create something that has never been done before in Louisiana.
While we all share in the publication’s successes, I also fully recognize that, as its publisher, I am ultimately responsible for its shortcomings. In this report, I outline the mistakes I have made, not only because I believe that accountability and transparency are critical in maintaining the Bayou Brief’s credibility but also because I am never going to be finished learning.
The Bayou Brief is built on model that had never been attempted before in Louisiana; we didn’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars in one-time grant money to float us through the first years, and no one took out a bank loan. We didn’t build a paywall around our reporting, and we don’t monetize our reader’s personal information, which are the two primary ways that legacy media generates revenue online.
That means we don’t need to measure success the same way that other publications traditionally do. Our contributors are not seeking a direct financial return on their investment; you hope for a different kind of dividend: How have we made a positive impact? What have we done to advance our shared values and promote a better and more informed future?
There are not concepts that one can easily quantify in a spreadsheet, and they often have no relationship whatsoever with the number of clicks a certain story receives.
We’ve done a helluva lot with very little.
In this report, I outline how, precisely, we intend on putting that money to good use.
This report is comprehensive.
It primarily focuses on the state of the news media in Louisiana, with the aim of providing you with a better understanding of how the Bayou Brief fits into the larger context and why we believe we are filling an important but unoccupied space.
Since the very first day I proposed creating the Bayou Brief, months before we ever went online, I have remained astonished, humbled, and deeply appreciative of every single person who has helped to breathe life into this publication. I am also eternally grateful to our loyal readers for your patience, your enthusiasm, and your kindness, and I’m immensely proud of each and every person whose work we have featured during the past two years.
NEXT: The Brief’s Interruption: How We Have Changed the Conversation