The Guardian has claimed a direct appeal to readers to fund its journalism, taking advantage of a boost in web traffic following Brexit, has been “hugely successful”.
In a comment piece following the EU referendum result, editor-in-chief Katharine Viner called for readers to contribute to the paper through a voluntary £5 monthly membership fee.
She said the payment would help cover the costs of its journalists who were working “24 hours a day, seven days a week, across the world to provide the answers that people desperately need at this time of anxiety and confusion”.
She added: “The Guardian – like the rest of the media – is operating in an incredibly challenging commercial environment.
“Producing in-depth, thoughtful, well-reported journalism is difficult and expensive. But supporting us isn’t. You can do so through a monthly contribution. If everyone chipped in, our future would be more secure.”
It comes after national news publications saw significant rises in web traffic, print sales and subscriptions after the British public voted for Brexit on Friday 24 June, leading to political turmoil.
On the day of the referendum result, the Guardian website recorded its biggest ever traffic day with 17m unique users (compared with its usual daily average of 8.9m. It also saw downloads of its app rise by 162 per cent on 24 and 25 June, compared with the previous week.
A Guardian News & Media spokesperson said: “Our appeal to Guardian readers to help fund our journalism – either through a monthly or one-off payment – has proved hugely successful.
“Bolstered by record traffic over the EU referendum, this further demonstrates the appetite to support the Guardian’s in-depth, clear, well-sourced, calm and accessible journalism.”
The Guardian is currently looking to cut 20 per cent of its annual budget in order to curb an operating losses of £53.6m for the year to the end of March.