Some good news for Christmas! The Ferret is set to grow fast in 2018 after winning funding for business growth and community engagement.
Social enterprise funder Firstport has awarded The Ferret a Build It grant.
This will be targeted at growing and engaging The Ferret’s membership to ensure the business is sustainable well into the future, and at improving the inclusion of underrepresented groups in terms of Ferret contributors, voices within stories and themes covered.
In addition, the Centre for Investigative Journalism is funding Storylab - a 12 week programme launching in 2018 - that will see a cohort of Scottish citizen journalists supported to explore and write about a topic of their choosing, with the output published on The Ferret website.
Extra resources have been put in place to support participants from marginalised backgrounds, with free mentoring available from experienced journalists.
Together the extra funds will allow The Ferret to host a greater range of events throughout the year, including a major immersive journalism event in the Spring, and it is hoped the increased numbers of people taking part will help to boost the long-term sustainability of the cooperative.
The Ferret is creating a new job-share post as part of the initiative, with Ferret Directors Rachel Hamada and Layla Roxanne-Hill working together as Heads of Engagement and Innovation to drive the programme forward through the year.
Hamada said: “The Ferret is a rare breed among the Scottish media in that it has no corporate shareholders, no advertisers, and places reserved for its readers on the board.”
“We’ve already shown that our cooperative model can deliver award-winning journalism to a high standard - but these grants will allow us to do more. They’ll allow us to find new supporters, bring new voices into the media and help us improve and diversify our digital storytelling.
“We want talented storytellers to have a platform to tell their stories about life in Scotland, and we want to build a community of journalists from all backgrounds with the skills and the confidence to hold power to account.
“We are grateful to all our subscribers and funders who have backed our efforts to build a sustainable, transparent and accountable media for Scotland - and to grow The Ferret for everyone.”
In a bid to address an under representation of women in the field, on Monday 15 January The Ferret will run the first event as part of this 2018 programme - a women-only workshop in Glasgow on freedom of information, factchecking and feminism in partnership with NUJ Scotland and Women in Journalism Scotland.
In the last 12 months, The Ferret’s annual recurring revenue from subscribers has increased by 118%, the lifetime value of a typical subscriber has risen by 54% and the subscriber churn has decreased to 2%.