ProPublica doesn’t do partisanship. “We picked on the current administration and briefly on the one before that,” said ProPublica President Richard J. Tofel. “We’ll certainly pick on the next one.” The organization’s self-description says it “shines a light on exploitation of the weak by the strong and on the failures of those with power to vindicate the trust placed in them.”
That mission has received quite a boost in the hours since Donald Trump was declared the 45th president of the United States.
“All of a sudden, we were running about 10 times the normal level,” Tofel tells the Erik Wemple Blog. Once ProPublica took note of the Trump bump, it sought to extend it by sending out a fundraising appeal — a nonpartisan one, that is: “This has been a dramatic week in our country, and big changes likely lie ahead as a result,” reads the appeal, in part. “But ProPublica’s mission remains the same: to hold those in power to account, and to call out abuses.” Online donations for ProPublica last year fell just shy of $300,000, with total revenue of nearly $13 million.
Mother Jones, another nonprofit news organization, follows a steadily liberal tilt. Over the course of Campaign 2016, the site produced something called the “Trump Files,” more than 100 stories documenting the oddities, depravities and corruption of the GOP nominee. At least for the foreseeable future, the site won’t have trouble sustaining the examination. “We saw about [a] ten-fold increase in donations yesterday compared to a regular day,” said Clara Jeffery, the organization’s editor in chief. Some of the boost came from an appeal, though Jeffery said there was a threefold increase even before taking that step. (Disclosure: The Erik Wemple Blog’s wife is a staffer at Mother Jones).
“Donations go up when people are concerned or when they think you’ve done good work. I think we’re seeing both,” Jeffery said.
Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor and publisher of the Nation, tells the Erik Wemple Blog that the magazine scored 30 new subscriptions over one day following Trump’s unexpected win over Hillary Clinton — an “unusual uptick,” she said. There has also been heightened activity in the Nation’s small-donor network. The publication is planning a special year-end appeal “to capture this election moment,” vanden Heuvel said.
Here’s a letter to the Nation from one Brigitte Rousselot of Chemin des Fraiches, France.
On this very sad day I could not do less than to renew my subscription to The Nation. My first one was given to me as a birthday present in 1998 by a neighbor friend the first year of my immigration to the states. During the 12 years I spent in the US, becoming an American citizen, reading The Nation
every single week was my oxygen, my open door to America, I would have cross back the ocean during the Bush’s year without The Nation….I
let pass my renewal…this morning was a violent reminder: you can never let it go, the struggle is going on and on…
Conventional wisdom holds that left-leaning publications gain in subscriptions and donations during Republican administrations. And vanden Heuvel confirms it, noting that the Nation’s circulation tripled under George W. Bush, driven in part by the magazine’s fierce opposition to the Iraq War.
All these donations and subscriptions align with anecdotage on social media wherein people are pledging to support publications that can hold President-elect Trump to account. “What I see on Facebook is an enormous number of people who feel in the aftermath of the election that they need to do something of a civic nature,” Tofel said.