ROAR is a transnational collective of citizen journalists, scholar-activists and independent filmmakers that arose out of the social mobilizations of 2011. We are driven by the belief that independent media and critical research are crucial building blocks for progressive social change. Through our flagship project – ROAR Magazine – we provide grassroots perspectives from the front-lines of the global struggle for freedom, social justice and real democracy.
With dozens of contributors, tens of thousands of followers, and editors in Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Berkeley, Florence and Istanbul, our coverage has become highly diverse in reach and truly international in scope. Our work has been cited by The New York Times, The Guardian and WikiLeaks, translated into dozens of languages, and re-published on hundreds of blogs and news sites. Our editors regularly occupy the airwaves to comment on current affairs and present their work at academic conferences and cultural festivals around the world.
As our democracy finds itself under attack by powerful corporate interests, and as the media and academia are increasingly turning away from the type of thoughtful reflection and socially-engaged research that could challenge this state of affairs, we feel that the time has come to take matters into our own hands. In 2014, we want to dramatically expand ROAR – by intensifying our reporting, diversifying our base of contributors, and providing you with the news and analysis you simply don’t find in the mainstream media or the average academic publication.
Our goal is to turn ROAR into a unique platform for inspiring, engaging and thought-provoking content that can help galvanize the sort of theoretically-informed social activism the world so desperately needs right now. But to get there, we need to first of all revolutionize our web presence and turn our humble blog into a proper online magazine. This is why ROAR will now be teaming up with a group of professional editorial designers and web developers with decades of experience in the world of independent publishing, to build a cutting-edge new website from scratch.
ROAR’s new website will have a number of added functionalities that will allow us to greatly improve the form and quality of our work. Without giving away too much (we don’t want to spoil the surprise), the new ROAR Magazine will provide you with:
Regular reflections: These essays on politics, culture and current affairs will be an improved continuation of our present efforts. The aim is to publish an average of at least one substantial article per day. Contributors will include investigative journalists, movement organizers, researchers, scholars, and many others.
Quarterly symposiums: In addition to these rolling reflections, we will publish four quarterly issues per year, each of which will consist of a series of long-read essays around a specific theme. These symposiums will cast their gaze wide by embracing a more research-based, philosophical and historical approach to the major challenges facing humanity today. The main idea is to provide visionary perspectives and stir the imagination. Each symposium will be custom-designed and will feature both leading thinkers and young, up-and-coming voices.
Spectacular documentaries: Apart from the reflections and symposiums, we also want to create a special film section to help bring our reporting to life. ROAR has a number of highly talented independent filmmakers in its networks, many of whom are embedded in different social movements around the world. We want to create a space where we can present their work and take you on a visual journey into the heart of the action.
A lively blog: Finally, we will share shorter snippets of relevant information – like photos, videos, infographics, recommended books and articles, rapid updates on developing stories, quick thoughts or inspiring quotes – to provide you with a constant flow of captivating content and to draw your attention to some of the most exciting brainfood floating around the internet.
All of this for free and without advertisements!
We have always placed great value in securing equal and open access to our work and maintaining the independence and integrity of our collective. We publish all our work under Creative Commons license, and our editors are volunteers who contribute their time and efforts for free. We would like to keep things that way – but that means that, to be able to expand our project, we really depend on your help and participation to take ROAR to the next level.
To remain fiercely independent, we are in need of an uncompromised source of financial support. By making a contribution, however small, you will secure not only the survival of ROAR as an energetic advocate of democratic empowerment, but also its evolution into an exciting new direction. To get started, we will need around $30,000 (€22,000) just to sustain ourselves as an organization and to build the new online platform. For the sake of transparency, we’ll break down our expected costs here:
Crowdfunding fees: Assuming we reach our $30,000 target, we should receive $27,900 after IndieGoGo has taken its cut. Take off another $1,000 to fulfill our perks.
Fiscal sponsor fees: Our fiscal sponsor in the US (Deep Dish TV) will receive this money and will need to file the appropriate tax declarations, etc. For this, they will charge a very reasonable 6% administrative fee.
Bank transfer fees: By the time our fiscal sponsor has transferred this money to our bank account in The Netherlands (we’ve got our own non-profit organization registered in Amsterdam: the Foundation for Autonomous Media & Research), we’ll have a little under $25.000 left, which equals roughly €18,000.
Basic expenses: Once we have received this amount, we’ll need to take care of a number of basic expenses to set up and safeguard our legal infrastructure and to keep ROAR going (e.g., the costs of registering our non-profit foundation, covering legal/tax advise, paying for our domain name registration and web hosting, etc.). We expect this to cost around €3,000 for the coming two years.
Web design & development: This leaves us with €15,000 to design and develop a cutting-edge new website. We’re currently negotiating with a number of very experienced web designers and developers to make sure we get the best possible deal for the best quality product. We will update you once we’ve got the final quote!
Investing in journalism: Anything extra that we receive or save will be invested directly into high-quality independent journalism — we’ll commission special reports and op-eds; we’ll let professional designers take care of the visual layout of our quarterly symposiums; we’ll get translators to make our work as widely accessible as possible, and so on.
What you get in return for funding our project is an amazing online resource where you will find some of the most captivating and most inspiring content on the web. What you get is a tireless champion of people power whose brand new online platform will help redefine the meaning of journalism. What you get is a media outlet that retains a close connection to its readers and the social movements out of which it arose. What you get is ROAR 2.0: a revolutionary new platform for independent news and critical analysis.
As you can see in the right-hand column, we offer some cool perks as well, ranging from ROAR posters and T-shirts to a DVD of our first documentary. At the end of the day, however, we hope you choose to support us not because of these perks, but because you believe in the importance of independent media, the promise of social movements and the value of critical analysis; because you, too, feel there is a need for a different kind of narrative; because you share with us the conviction that another world is possible – and hopefully just because you enjoy our work and want to help us realize this groundbreaking grassroots initiative.
Real democracy requires independent media. But independent media requires committed citizens. ROAR has only come so far because of your support – and only with your continued participation in this collaborative project will we be able to keep moving forward. Help us provide you with the news and analysis you won’t find in the mainstream. It’s time to ROAR for real democracy!
With gratitude and in solidarity,
N.B.: Thanks to the fiscal sponsorship provided by Deep Dish TV, contributions to this campaign are tax deductible in the United States.