https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udD1A8EdcmY It may seem odd to hear me ask for contributions to this website, given that I’m also a columnist for the National Post and a contributor to CFRA radio and The Rebel. But here's the truth: I’m not an employee of any media company. I don't get a salary from the National Post or CFRA or The Rebel. I freelance for them and get paid for each piece I produce. In a typical week all three combined bring me $600. It’s barely $30,000 a year, and that’s if I never take any time off, and there are no benefits. It's not enough to feed my family. As for the University of Ottawa, they pay me sessional rates when they give me a course at all. They often don’t. So yes, I love teaching. But it doesn’t pay enough to live on. Not remotely. What does keep me going are the documentaries we crowdfund, and contributions to this website. The book and DVD sales help a little, as do the speaking engagements. But the bulk of what we live on comes from my readers, viewers and supporters. That's why I keep asking for contributions. We need your support. If enough people find my work worthwhile, chip in a dollar or two a month, and step up with $25, $50 or $100 on the documentaries, then I'll be able to continue doing it. If you’re not already a backer, please visit www.patreon.com/johnrobson and make a pledge (please note pledges are in US dollars). It’s what keeps us in business.
One of my newest projects is to write fiction, starting with short stories. Here is my first published one, Dr. Watson Presumes, available for $1. Monthly subscribers to my website (via Patreon or PayPal - please see the links on the left side), get those stories for free. p.s. if you are a backer of our documentaries and would like a complimentary copy of this short story, please get in touch with Brigitte (bp - at - brigittepellerin - dot - com) and she'll be happy to send it to you.
Actually, I'm hoping brother and sister can spare a dollar online. I need your help to continue the conservative conversation going online. Please help support my website, and other great conservative voices, so that we can rebuild our conservative culture and reclaim our institutions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udD1A8EdcmY
As some of you may know (and if you don’t, you can find out more about it here), CFRA radio in Ottawa redesigned their morning show and the new format did not include John. So after 17 years, that gig is off, and that means we are increasingly making our living online.
You may also have heard that the Ottawa Citizen was merging with the Ottawa Sun. This does not affect us, except insofar as it is yet another sign that traditional media outlets are slowly and painfully dying.
It’s not a very surprising development to anyone who’s been paying attention. The invention of the Internet made ad-supported media appear suddenly very lumpy and expensive. Why would advertisers pay to have their ads seen by fewer and fewer people who do their shopping online via search engines like Google or sites like Craiglist or Kijiji or whatever the kids use these days.
I strongly believe there is a bright future for news reporting, analysis and commentary, but not in the old traditional format that’s heavily dependent on ad revenues. I believe the future (well, at least for the next few years) is in user-supported media. That’s media that users pay for – either by buying the product or by sponsoring the creators, or both.
When Sun News went kaput last year John and I decided to devote ourselves to documentary film-making and to finance our films through crowdfunding. We also set up our websites to take monthly contributions from people who like what we do so we could keep doing more of it. (Something our friend Nick Vandergragt is also doing – you can sponsor his work here.)
It’s still a relatively new model, especially in Canada. So much so that there is still no option to work in Canadian dollars – only USD at the moment. But I trust someday soon demand from Canadian content creators for a system that accepts loonies will make it happen.
It’s a new funding model for creators and so far we’re very pleased by the response and grateful for the wonderful support we’re getting from our supporters.
We did also try last year to generate some revenues by putting ads on our websites and our videos. We got rid of the website ads a few months ago and this week I decided it was time to pull the plug on the YouTube ads as well. Not because they’re not working; they are. But personally when I want to watch a video or read an article I strongly dislike having to navigate around the ads and I’m assuming our readers and viewers feel the same… (By the way, if you come across an ad I somehow missed anywhere on my YouTube channel, please let me know.)
So there. Now we are patron-supported, and we find this a very dandy arrangement indeed. You get the product you want, you decide how much it is worth to you, and because we have lots of patrons who each give us small amounts of money each month, we feel we have the independence we need to keep doing our thing without having to worry about upsetting a big advertiser or angel investor.
There, I say, is the future. And I like it.
Folks, I am not making this up. Actually I am. When my monthly Patreon sponsorship reaches $250 I'm going to start posting one short story a month. I could be the next Ernest Hemmingway... or maybe I'll actually be good. But you'll only know if you're a patron, as this content is exclusive to sponsors.