By Simon Pipe, editor
Ninety thousand hits in nine months isn’t bad going, but if St Helena Online is to be even more interesting, it needs a little money. It’s only right that this should involve me in pain, exhaustion and darkness. And that was just on the training walks.
This weekend, I hope to be among 500 people setting out on the notorious 24-hour, 50-mile Longmynd Hike in Shropshire, in the UK. It starts at 1pm on Saturday and the sun goes down at 6.24pm, hence the darkness. With luck, I’ll still be staggering up steep hills at dawn, nearly 13 hours later.
However, about a third of the people who start up Caer Caradoc will drop out, and given my minimal training, there’s a fair chance I’ll be among them.
I’m not asking people to sponsor me. That would be too easy. Instead, I’d like people to sponsor my dodgy left knee. If it makes it to the 32-mile point, then cash donations will be welcome.
I’ll use money raised to push back the frontiers of journalism even further (not a joke, actually: experts around the world tell me they know of no other remotely-run news website like St Helena Online).
One plan is to send a recording device or two out to St Helena so that people can record interviews on my behalf. The beauty is that they needn’t be trained journalists our great writers: simply people who like a good chat. The idea is that they then send the interviews back to me to write up into stories. I call it journalism-by-proxy.
It’s not entirely original. A similar idea with mobile phones has succeeded in rural India, where city-based journalists had previously been unable to give tribal hill people a voice in the media. Read more here.
I would also use any cash to pay expenses such as internet fees, or the cost of travelling to an interview. The money won’t line my pocket.
I’m still working with Johnny Clingham, over at the St Helena Community website, to find the best way for people to donate. In the meantime, if you’d like to sign the pledge (you know what I mean) please click here.
Alternatively, you could try to talk me out of this. You’d find me a good listener.