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Funding initiatives will help Scottish investigative journalism outfit to bring in new and diverse voices

By Freddy Mayhew

Scottish investigative journalism co-operative The Ferret has won funding that it says will help it to “bring new voices into the media” and “build a community of journalists from all backgrounds”.

A £25,000 grant from development agency Firstport will be targeted at growing and engaging subscribers and “improving the inclusion of underrepresented groups in terms of Ferret contributors, voices within stories and themes covered”, said a spokesperson.

The Centre for Investigative Journalism is also funding a 12-week programme next year, run by The Ferret, that will publish stories chosen and written by a group of Scottish citizen journalists on its website.

The extra funds will allow The Ferret, a non-profit cooperative that is owned by its journalists and readers, to host a greater range of events in 2018, including a “major immersive journalism event” in the Spring.

Directors, Rachel Hamada and Layla Roxanne-Hill, have also created a shared role between them, that of joint heads of engagement and innovation, to continue pushing diversity.

Hamada said: “The Ferret is a rare breed among the Scottish media in that it has no corporate shareholders, no advertisers, and places reserved for its readers on the board.

“We’ve already shown that our cooperative model can deliver award-winning journalism to a high standard – but these grants will allow us to do more. They’ll allow us to find new supporters, bring new voices into the media and help us improve and diversify our digital storytelling.

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“We want talented storytellers to have a platform to tell their stories about life in Scotland, and we want to build a community of journalists from all backgrounds with the skills and the confidence to hold power to account.

“We are grateful to all our subscribers and funders who have backed our efforts to build a sustainable, transparent and accountable media for Scotland – and to grow The Ferret for everyone.”

On Monday, 15 January, The Ferret will run a women-only workshop in Glasgow on freedom of information, factchecking and feminism in a bid to “address an under representation of women in journalism”.

In the last 12 months, The Ferret’s annual recurring revenue from subscribers has increased by 118 per cent, it has claimed, with subscriber churn falling to 2 per cent.

The Ferret was the first publisher in Scotland to be regulated by alternative press regulator Impress.

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