CMTV t-shirt Fundraiser: 1.5 years of full-time independent journalism, no pay

Written by Jeff Epstein, Editor of Citizens’ Media TV

Citizens’ Media TV’s motto is, “Journalism for the ignored.” Our goal is and has always been to stand up for the powerless without tearing anybody down. (If the truth tears them down…well…that’s not up to us.)

Our recent reporting was a major contributor to a local governmental agency admitting, for the first time, that they have been overcharging thousands of residents for decades. We are also helping to bring some real justice to a community with a high school where students breathed in construction contaminants for three weeks, despite the district’s own environmental consultants telling them that construction should stop immediately.

Over the past year-and-a-half, starting with the 2016 Democratic National Convention Citizens’ Media TV has written over 100 original articles, many of them comprehensive and in-depth. We have livestreamed hundreds of hours around the country, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Washington D.C., Washington state, North Dakota, and Arkansas. We provided the most comprehensive coverage of the “second-tier“ candidates during the Democratic primary for the New Jersey gubernatorial race. We even moderated a debate. We also pride ourselves on two things in particular: how we talk with those who seriously disagree with us, and that we’re the only media outlet that chooses to stay with those shut out of meetings, rather than cover the event itself.

Oh, and this weekend, we’re heading to Puerto Rico for four days to report on Hurricane Maria recovery.

For almost all of those 1.5 years, we have worked full-time with no pay. We pay hundreds of dollars a month for

  • hosting large files and raw audio, in order to make them permanently available to the public
  • website hosting
  • unlimited cell service for livestreaming
  • supporting the maintenance of critical journalistic tools like Jersey Leaks and OPRA machine
  • Equipment maintenance and replacement, and software licenses
  • Professional liability insurance, so if someone sues us in an effort to intimidate or slow us down, we won’t have to pay $300-plus an hour for a lawyer. The more pointed our writing becomes, the more critical this is

Not to mention the people who donate 100% of their time. This especially includes Ben, our wonderfully-brutal copy editor, who we would really like to start paying. Finally, it would nice to upgrade to some more professional streaming services, and video and audio equipment. Our only camera is still an iPhone!

We can’t keep going like this. We gotta make money somehow. It’s time for us to start making a living, but to do it in a way that does not compromise our integrity.

That’s where you come in.

Our Patreon (regular monthly contributions) and GoFundMe (one-time-only) fundraisers will be starting soon. Meanwhile, if you believe in what CMTV has done and continues to do, please consider purchasing a t-shirt. Small through X-large is $30. 2X-large is $35.

You can purchase them right now on eBay: small, medium, large, X-large, 2X large

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