CORRECT!V is a German startup, not for profit, investigative digital media organisation.
One year after publication began, Nieman Lab are reporting that things are going well for the company;
‘CORRECT!V launched with lofty goals. In the year-plus that it’s been in operation, the nonprofit investigative news outfit — Germany’s first — has, impressively, met many of them. Grow a seven-person team to 20? Check. Publish and sell print and ebooks of its own investigations, as well as a graphic novel on a terrorist group? Check. Collaborate on investigations with magazines like Der Spiegel, Stern, and Focus and national papers like Die Zeit (as well as TV and radio stations)? Check. Public discussions and trainings? Check and check’.
CORRECT!V is currently financed through support from foundations and donations, but its aim is to build up a core income from subscription funding.
Founder David Schraven talked to Journalism.co.uk’s Ben Heubl about his background in Germany’s traditional print media industry where he was responsible for investigative reporting across a number of publications. However, he increasingly found himself reliant on data analysis, and that the traditional print media structure could not provide the resources needed to carry out the work.
In order for Schraven to do investigative data journalism, he needed people able to do the “magic stuff with the data”, he said. But financial constraints at his newspaper made it difficult to get these guys on board. “In traditional newsrooms it was hard to find people who were able to do this terrific work.” The alternative would have been hiring experts – but the financial uncertainty in the newspaper sector wouldn’t have allowed hiring externally.
CORRECT!V’s economic model is very interesting. It produces high quality international investigative journalism (see this long format investigation into the downing of flight MH17 interspersed with video and graphic features), which it publishes free to view on its website. It also publishes full investigations in ebook format, has published a hit graphic novel about a far right German underground organisation and works collaboratively with local and national news organisations, publishing some of its work under a ‘steal our story’ licence.
‘CORRECT!V is able to collaborate with other news media because the point is, Schraven explained, that “CORRECT!V is no competition”. If his organisation is giving out an investigative story for free, other news publications are able to sell it, so they are very eager to collaborate with him. “We work together with big outlets in Germany such as Der Spiegel or Die Zeit, and we work with TV stations such as ARD, MDR or NDR, or private TV stations such as RTL. ” This means is that whatever CORRECT!V investigates could influence which stories break in the entire German news media landscape’.
CORRECT!V is fascinating both in terms of its innovative approach to data journalism and in the way it is establishing what appears to be a unique publishing model, which could provide some very important clues to future journalism formats.