It’s been a few months since we’ve heard anything of the Labor Herald, dubbed by its founders as “Labor’s own Crikey“. But the publication is moving forward and has started signing up subscribers.

Those who’ve previously donated to Labor were sent an email on Monday with an invitation to “become an Insider” by signing up to the publication. As well as supporting Labor’s campaigning efforts, the money will give subscribers access to “information like never before — including getting priority access to online content, policy briefings on emerging issues, and hearing first from Bill Shorten on new announcements”.

The Labor Party now appears to be linking the Herald to its general fundraising efforts, stressing that small, online donations help it compete with the Liberals.

“At the last election, the internet was our biggest donor. Specifically supporters like you: everyday people who gave an average of $59 each, in contrast to the deep coffers of special interests bankrolling the Liberals’ campaign. Together we saw a 1500% increase in the number of online donors — a massive achievement — and that created a campaign powered by, and accountable to, the people.

“This time, we’re not waiting till Election time to empower the grassroots. We’re bringing the campaign to the laptops and living rooms of every Australian who gives a damn and can’t wait around for two more years to get off the sidelines.”

If the Labor Herald lives up to its marketing, we can expect most of the press gallery to be avid readers, though it’s hard to see the Labor Party giving up on the ability to cultivate friendly journalists with a nicely packaged drop from time to time.

The $25 a month price tag is slightly higher than that given when the publication was first announced in April of $22.60 a month. It’s also higher than the cost of most online digital subscriptions, but presumably subscribers will be paying out of solidarity to the party. When the publication was first revealed to supporters, Labor Party national secretary George Wright said the publication only needed 350 people to sign up to find the $95,000 a year needed to recruit an editor. It wasn’t long after the the job ad for such a position went up, asking for an all-round digital wizard:

“You will be tenacious, enjoy working to tight deadlines and have a commitment to quality editorial content including short and timely news stories, longer length feature pieces and commentary and will have the capacity to illuminate content via information-rich graphics, video and photography.”

It’s not clear who this editor will be. Crikey this morning asked the ALP for more information about the hiring process, and the Labor Herald‘s progress more generally, but no one was free to speak to us by deadline.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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