So far, my freelance career went astonishingly well. I got published in a number of places, all of which I read regularly myself and hold in high regard. And Ieven got paid for it! My original fear, that making enough money to sustain myself here in Ouagadougou with writing would be hard, did not really materialize.
But some things are still not the wayI would like them to be. Firstly, I spend more time pitching stories to editors than actually writing them. That sucks. And secondly, even if the money is enough for my current lifestyle, I can see how it wouldn’t suffice if I moved to a more expensive country / wanted to have a family / discover my taste for Ferraris (the last one is obviously a joke – what would I want with a Ferrari in Africa?).
Sure, my income is likely to increase once I increase my network of editors, but safe getting totally famous because I was abducted by Al Qaida and wrote a book about it, I don’t really see myself living only of freelance journalism in the future.
Enter: the fantastic business idea.
You may know that I’m originally from Germany. While Germany had plenty of African colonies in its day, loosing the First World War allowed us to let France and England worry about post-independence traumata. While there is a community of German-speaking people interested in African affairs (academics, NGO staff, policy makers, culture and travel aficionados, etc.), the general public and media is not.
This has led to the deplorable situation, that there is no German language source for consistently good Africa coverage. The British got BBC Africa, the French got France24 and Jeune Afrique, Germany, Austria and Switzerland have the occasional Africa-related article in their preferred daily newspaper.
Of course, there is plenty of good reporting on African issues in German. The problem is to find it, as it is scattered over a number of publications, websites and so on. This is what I want to change.
I will offer a series of regular email newsletters. Readers can choose between a number of different topics, ranging from culture and arts over development and cooperation to peace and conflicts. For each issue (coming roughly every two weeks) of the newsletters, I will identify the most interesting stories, write a small abstract and aggregate the most interesting sources for the reader to dig into. It will be a one-stop solution for everybody looking for consistently good reporting on African affairs.
This service of course comes at a price. Subscribers will be charged after an initial trial period, but the price will be affordable for everybody. I put great emphasis on design and multimedia, so that people will experience a slick and professional presentation of their news.
Of course, there is a lot of great reporting in languages other than German. If I judge a specific article to be a “must read”, I will offer an automatic translation via Google Translate. While not perfect, these translations have by now reached an acceptable standard.
So, what do you think of the concept? I would be especially interested in your opinion on an acceptable price range for the service, on the frequency of newsletters and on the general idea. Comment below or write me an email: peter.doerrie [at] gmail.com !