Defend Truth

Maverick Insider

Maverick Insider Turns FIVE. We’ve only just begun

Maverick Insider Turns FIVE. We’ve only just begun

To our Maverick Insiders reading this, a simple thank you will never be enough. Your support has changed the country for the better. That’s what your monthly contribution is doing. We promise that we will continue to investigate, inform and hold those in power to account. We owe it to you.

Five years ago today, Daily Maverick began on a journey that would not only change our company but would arguably change South Africa, too.

We had 30 permanent staff. It was August and we had just about enough in the bank to see payroll through to December. The ‘and then what?’ question hung heavy above our heads. These 30 employees were the people who uncovered the massacre at Marikana. They had been reporting on everything that was not right with the Zuma presidency. They were digging into Tom Moyane’s dirty dealings at SARS. Their work had earned the trust of a million or so readers who came to Daily Maverick every month to know what was really going on. Fourteen months into breaking the #GuptaLeaks, the prospect of closure was still on our horizon.

For advertisers, Daily Maverick was ‘too political’ to support. Our response in the newsroom to that was ‘imagine if we weren’t?’ It was easier and less messy for advertisers to funnel their marketing spend into Google or Facebook.

All over the world, newsrooms were facing the same problem. Many erected paywalls forcing readers to pay for what content they consumed. Many of those who didn’t, closed down.

A paywall didn’t make sense to us. We saw up close the extreme poverty in South Africa. We saw the lengths that SMEs were having to go to just to stay afloat. We were also committed to our constitutional mandate, to inform the public. How was the electorate going to make an informed decision on their ballot if they couldn’t afford to know the truth of what was happening?

How could we force people to pay? We couldn’t.

But we could ASK them to pay.

On 15 August 2018, we launched the Maverick Insider membership: a community of readers who understood the importance of our work and who were willing to contribute to our journey. We could no longer do it alone – and we didn’t want to. We needed a community. The members would receive various benefits in exchange for their contributions but the biggest of them all was to keep our journalism free for the millions who really couldn’t afford to pay.

For us, everything changed. In five years, our readership has grown to more than 10-million unique browsers a month. More than 26,000 of those are our Maverick Insider members. Their support enables the rest of the country to read for free. More than that, their support has helped change South Africa.

Major Macro Impact

The Maverick Insider community has enabled us to keep having a massive impact on South Africa. A few of the highlights are listed here:

This is by no means an exhaustive list of what Maverick Insiders helped make happen. It doesn’t even mention the work of Caryn Dolley and how she has traced the biggest drug cartels in the world to and through South Africa, often aided by corrupt SAPS officials. Or Marianne Thamm’s investigations into the now suspended public protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Or Ferial Haffajee’s years-long coverage of the Zondo Commission and now the critical up-to-date information on the state of electricity. Information that the country needs to function daily.

Our Maverick Insiders have enabled the recent Cape Town taxi strike coverage by Velani Ludidi; they ensure that all of our reporters out in the field can continue to bring the truth of what’s happening to our readers.

Growth Spurt

Since Maverick Insider launched, Daily Maverick has been able to expand its coverage by creating new sections. The Our Burning Planet division is the biggest climate newsdesk on the continent. Their work has been instrumental in stopping numerous climate crimes and informing the public on the many climate-related disasters, from flash floods in KZN, droughts in Cape Town to poisoned waters everywhere.

Maverick Citizen, focusing on civil society, has not only provided the good news stories but gets into the hearts of communities. Like Estelle Ellis’ exposure of the dire state of Dora Nginza Hospital in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth). The antenatal unit had been requesting increased staff and resources for 11 years. Six hours after her exposé on the deaths of babies, 32 new posts were created for the hospital.

The role of journalism is to “inform the public on the significant”. That doesn’t just mean exposing corruption. Accordingly, we now have divisions covering business, sport, life, culture and food.

It is because of our Maverick Insiders that we were able to launch our weekly print newspaper, DM168. One of the sections in this paper, MavericKids, enabled us to create an annual activity book for children. For every book sold, we donate a copy to Gift of the Givers who, in turn, distribute them to children and communities all over South Africa. It is our Maverick Insiders who donate the majority of these books.

Maverick Insider members are not simply a bunch of affluent readers contributing cash. Many of them have little to give but they do so because they see the bigger picture. They don’t agree with every article. Many are not part of one political party. They are people with a shared spark of understanding that for South Africa to have a future, independent journalism – and Daily Maverick itself – needs to survive.

To our Maverick Insiders reading this, a simple thank you will never be enough. Your support has changed the country for the better. That’s what your monthly contribution is doing. We promise that we will continue to investigate, inform and hold those in power to account. We owe it to you.

To those who are not Maverick Insiders, there is an election next year and our country needs us. We must hire more journalists to cover every province and every metro. We want to create a unit dedicated entirely to education and job creation. We want to accelerate our climate, business and community reporting. We MUST continue our investigations.

We need your help.

Join Maverick Insider


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    I wish I could give more,in my life of close to 63 years I have never made a better investment,KUDOS to DM,Caryn ,Pieter -Louis,Marianne,Feral,Paulie and all off you,thankyou so much!!!!

    • Bruce Danckwerts says:

      I also wish I could give more . . . . and I have a few years on Jcdville! I HAVE mentioned this to DM before, but I honestly believe that you would get even more support if you published a little pie chart of monthly Income and Expenditure. A very few non-profits do publish their annual accounts, but (a) those accounts come out far too late and (b) all accounts can be massaged to tell whatever story the directors want. It is very difficult to hide the truth from a statement of Income and Expenditure. This would give all Insiders a much better feel for the impact of their donations, and perhaps an understanding of the size of the challenge. Bruce Danckwerts, CHOMA, Zambia

  • Iske Van Den Berg says:

    If I remember correctly, you did not offer benefits when you launched Maverick Insider (or none that appealed to me at the time). Uber came later. I joined because I appreciated the importance and quality of your journalism. I attend one of the events in Johannesburg, the launch of ”We have a Game Changer”. If I have to grab my proudest possessions in case of a fire, these would include this book with the signatures of Branco, Styli, Richard, Steven and Ferial. You and the rest of the team are my heroes!

  • Peter Holmes says:

    Change your antiquated, restrictive and censorship type comments policy, and I’ll restore my original Insider financial support. I reduced it as a form of, if you like, protest. I have raised this topic in DM comments quite frequently, and also via DM “feedback”, to no avail. Again, I’ll say it: you could learn a lot from News 24 (we had Adriaan Basson engaging at some length with those who commented on his Lady R op ed yesterday) as well as some of the UK press.

    • Louise Wilkins says:

      I don’t understand how their comments policy is an antiquated, restrictive and censorship type policy. We, the readers, are their policy. It’s fair and works. Could you add more details to your comment please?

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    5 and flourishing! Thanks to all the DM team for keeping Press Freedom alive and well and watching the backs of the SA public and Democracy!

  • jcdville stormers says:

    Apologies to Vincent Cruywagen,forgot to mention him also a valued friend

  • Stef Coetzee says:

    Congratulations DM team. You are applauded from afar. As you celebrate your growth, contribution and reach across South Africa, kudos that your reach is global also, for those who are no longer lucky enough to be based within South Africa, but whose hearts are still with you all daily. Stay strong and keep up the excellent work you do.

  • Lisbeth Scalabrini says:

    Methinks that I’ll have to cancel my membership, I am passing too much time reading Daily Maverick😉

  • Gary Cousins says:

    Congratulations and thank you for excellence in journalism. This publication is my go to for news from my homeland, living as an expat in Bali, Indonesia

  • Sue Grant-Marshall says:

    DM arrived on our planet 14 years ago, I think?! and look at it today. Quoted extensively by other media as a reliable source of news: exposes corruption and malfeasance that has brought many a gangster and corrupt politician to their knees. I recall, vividly, Branko Brkic showing me his vision, on an iPad, of DM in a Jozi coffee shop. And, look at DM now. Team DM deserves an international Press Award.

  • Alley Cat says:

    My goto read every morning and seldom get bored or do not find at least one article that interests me. Keep it up… BUT PLEASE don’t forget us insiders who reside in Joburg and who I suspect are the biggest contributors? You seem to only have your gatherings in Cape Town now, which is an affront. The ones you did have in Joburg were memorable, so PLEASE, PLEASE!

  • Marina Hall says:

    Remember the first tentative requests for support?…”buying coffee” for the reporters? Insiders’ support initiative was launched at The Gathering…

    Thank goodness DM (& a select few publications) has been serving truth to the nation…can’t imagine how bleak things would have been had they not been around.

    Hats off to DM establishing a successful weekly printed newspaper that covers all genres of news… phenomenal…while other print media struggle to survive! Often the DM Newspaper has sold out before I can get a copy…but of course there is always the digital version available when that happens :-)).
    (How about collaborating with Uber to do home deliveries?)

    Congrats DM…keep doing what you’re doing!

  • Denise Smit says:

    I do not think whether you know how much you contribute to South Africa. You are a bunch of hard working very “dapper” people. Sure you are going to grow even stronger. Thanks for giving all opinions a voice. Sure we are all of different backgrounds, age and life views. But this is what enriches us all. A big round table from which all views count. Even the soft voices can be heard. Denise Smit

  • Lorna Monkley says:

    I am a pensioner, so money is always a bit tight, but there are two subsciptions I make that I feel are so worth while today – Daily Maverick and Dear SA. The one gives me the truth on which to base informed decisions and the other gives me a platform to lodge my objections to pending government bills. I feel that both are essential to doing what I can to assist in changing the face of our country.

    During Apartheid, many things where hidden from the white community due to the lack of a free and impartial press and strict censorship. Being the product of an Anti-apartheid family, I grew up realizing the importance of the full truth being made available to the public. And ever since I discovered The Daily Maverick, I have rejoiced in the ethics and hard work (mot to mention the shear bravery) that is evident in the work that you do.

    I am in awe of the laudable work done by the staff of the Daily Maverick. They all deserve to be nominated for international press awards. I may not agree with all the articles, but as my father (a reporter of note in the Apartheid underground news paper) would have said “I may not agree with everything you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it”. The truth is not always palatable and is sometimes subject to bias and circumstance, but everyone deserves to hear it. Keep up the good work! May you go from strength to strength.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options