Ifan Morgan Jones
Nation.Cymru has gone from strength to strength this year.
We have published 500 articles from tens of different contributors, giving a platform to voices and issues that would not have been heard elsewhere in the media.
Yesterday we reached 5,000 ‘likes’ on our Facebook page for the first time. Our most popular post in the last week reached over 117,000 users.
But one of the most pleasing things about this growth is that our users are young, with 50% under the age of 45 – an age the media often struggle to engage with.
This growth, however, comes against the backdrop of the continued weakening of the Welsh media as a whole.
The commercial business model which sustained journalism in Wales for two centuries – selling print copies and advertising – has continued its severe decline.
Once busy newsrooms around the country are being gutted, with a handful of journalists doing jobs that used to be done by hundreds.
Rather than informing the public, the job of a journalist has increasingly become to attract viewers to the site by any means necessary so that advertisers will continue to pay their wages.
This couldn’t happen at a more dangerous moment for Wales. Our national institutions, our cultures, our language and dialects, continue to be fragile.
There is an alarming lack of understanding of the role of our Welsh parliament and government. This isn’t the fault of the people of Wales – they hear very little about them through the media.
Not even news about the choice of our new First Minister for Wales – a man or woman who will be in charge of the NHS, education and steer Wales through the challenges of Brexit – has reached most of the public.
Brexit shows what happens when people don’t understand what political institutions are for – they vote to get rid of them.
However, Nation.Cymru’s success on a shoestring shows that the audience is out there. There is a great interest in topics of national significance – if there is someone there to cover them.
When we launched the website a year and a half ago we suggested a new model: ‘A news service by the people of Wales, for the people of Wales.’
This means not just that the website gives a platform for the people of Wales to talk about what concerns them. But also that the people of Wales own the website.
But this can only be done with direct financial support from the people of Wales.
We thank everyone who has signed up to invest in our site so far. Every penny of that money has been ploughed back into making the website the best it can possibly be.
But there is so much more we can still achieve. Just a few thousand people giving £2 a month would be enough to rapidly expand the amount of investigative journalism ongoing in Wales.
We do not currently have another English language national news service in Wales, only regional services and ones that are part of a wider British service.
Unfortunately, with the resources currently at our disposal, the current service which is largely delivered voluntarily by one unpaid editor is not sustainable.
A strong national media in Wales, investigating issues that are important to the people of Wales, and fighting for the people of Wales, would make a massive difference to our nation.
Only an informed public will be able to fight their corner against the political, economic and environmental forces which will batter Wales over the years to come.
Help us ensure that Nation.Cymru not only continues to inform, but goes from strength to strength and reaches a new, larger audience all over the country.
So give Wales and early Christmas present – support Nation.Cymru.