A while back a friend of mine who owns a venture capital firm asked me if the people on the “angel investor” list on the right got some ownership, like in a real business. I told him that no, “investors” was just a term that I used. But after the notes and the support from all of you, I realize that everyone who donates really is a stakeholder and you do have some kind of ownership. The dividends aren’t checks for your bank account, but the creation of something new, a journalism that owes its sole allegiance to the readers. While I may be the guy in the field, it’s you, the readers, donors and supporters, who are building a new, new journalism (apologies to Tom Wolfe) through your patronage and readership. If this adventure is successful, I sincerely hope more journalists take this route and begin to see the Web, and especially blogs, as a primary outlet instead of an adjunct or a marketing tool for their “real” work. Their credibility will derive from the trust of the readers and a bubbling, robust and independent medium will be the result, as professional as anything that came before it, if not more so.
Yesterday, Wired.com featured Back to Iraq on its front page with just these ideas in mind. The response was tremendous, with more than 3,300 unique visitors, almost $875 raised in a single day and interview requests from some major news media. The more attention the better, but I’ll admit to being a little uncomfortable being the story instead of reporting on it. The outpouring of support has been just incredible, and I’m extremely grateful to everyone who has donated. Thank you. Total donations are up to $3,879.80.
Today, I’m busy updating the donor database and setting up the listserv that will carry the bonus updates and allow in-the-field interaction. Some of you will notice I’ve dropped the Amazon payment method on the right. While it was very convenient and accounted for $708 in donations, it never gave me any email addresses and if you used Amazon to let me know you donated, I never got a single note telling me. So I’m dropping it and hoping that people who donated will contact me directly. If you donated yesterday via Amazon and you have one of the following confirmation numbers, please send me your email so I can add you to the list.
700105350544 700101310504 700103389454 700107339414 700106309464 700107378474 700104348434 700102318474 700100387484 700105367484 700100376474
Thanks, everyone, for your support and advice and well wishes. This whole endeavor is looking more promising by the day, and it appears that late March or early April will be my departure date. The current plan is a month in the field and then back to New York. Of course, that could change with the circumstances, and I’m hoping to stay longer. But for the moment, that’s where it stands.