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Amanda Michel: Why not ask readers to contribute?

Amanda Michel is the Global Director and Senior Product Manager of Contributions at The Guardian.

The co—matter podcast 029 | December 05, 2019

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That’s a very long title, so here’s our interpretation of what it means: ever since the Internet made free the new norm, publishers are trying to figure out how they can survive. Amanda’s job is to do that at The Guardian, one of the world’s biggest newspapers that was founded more than a hundred years ago.

In 2018 The Guardian announced that more than one million readers have financially contributed to the paper. In 2019 it broke even through the support of reader contributions - its first such profit in two decades and the culmination of one of the most significant turnarounds in recent British media history.

How did that happen exactly? We sat down with Amanda in Malmö this late summer to find out. We talked about:

  • Amanda’s background as a political organizer and being part of the early team of the Huffington Post (that, in a way, re-invented citizen journalism) before joining The Guardian

  • How Amanda and her team achieved that more than one million readers financially supported The Guardian, mostly through voluntary donations

  • The purpose of paywalls, membership models and reader contributions to make journalism sustainable in a world where free became the new norm

  • Values and honesty as the ultimate reason why people support The Guardian’s journalism today

Follow Amanda at @amichel on Twitter. Read and support The Guardian at www.theguardian.com.

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Last updated: December 1, 2021 ■ 11:00am