Launched as a response to declining press freedom in the wake of the Umbrella Movement, Hong Kong Free Press celebrated its third anniversary on Friday, June 29. Below is an update on our work since our Annual Report was published in January. Thank you – from all of our team – to our supporters, donors, patrons and readers.
Original reporting since January 2018:
Last year, HKFP doubled the number of original features published – sharing a fully-fledged feature every weekend and launching a new opinion section. This year, we invested more in our daily reporting and updates to focus on scoops and exclusives.
- Exclusive features: Over the past six months, we published over 40 features on: grassroots activists filling the elderly care gap, residents fighting corruption at local housing developments, the struggles of a social activism bookstore, recruitment issues and challenges in the local media industry, the return of Hong Kong’s controversial anti-subversion law – Article 23 (two parts), a domestic worker who became a protest photographer, gentrification and the effect on local Western District communities, public space and noise pollution in Mong Kok, a labour dispute watchdog news website run by volunteers, the battle for a waterfront park, increase in the use of a draconian law governing computer use, suspicious fires in the wetlands, Hong Kong’s tribute to the Tiananmen Massacre victims, a board game about police corruption, Hong Kong’s “villain hitters,” dog shelters fighting for survival, war relics uncovered in a country park, the challenges facing the city’s wheelchair users, Taiwan walking tours which fight stereotypes.
- Exclusive China features: Despite lacking access, we also published China-related features about: the Communist Party’s treatment of western firms, its crackdown on dissident and rights websites, elderly care in China and the erosion of filial piety, anti-Japanese China movie dramas, and Beijing’s tightening grip on new media.
- Exclusive interviews: HKFP interviewed its first pro-Beijing lawmaker – Eunice Yung. We also interviewed Cardinal Zen – an outspoken critic of China’s Vatican deal, and pro-democracy rights lawyer Chris Ng. Our interview with pro-democracy law scholar Benny Tai received critical acclaim. Before she was banned from running, we spoke to pro-democracy election hopeful Agnes Chow, as well as writer/performer Gabby So. We also interviewed historian Vivian Kong and veteran pro-democracy activist Yip Po-lam.
- Exclusive Documentaries: We published video documentaries on Kin-ball’s fight for recognition as a sport, a domestic worker who turned to sex work, tensions on campus between local and mainland students and aerial bamboo yoga.
- Special features/scoops: We broke news about Beijing’s intervention with foreign consulates, as well as #MeToo allegations at the LA Times, a Hong Kong activist fleeing to Taiwan, and the authorities rejecting a protest application, among others. We also published an exclusive, two-part series of unseen Tiananmen Square protest photos from 1989.
- Special focus in 2018: HKFP gave full and comprehensive coverage to the 2018 legislative by-elections, the “ceding” of land to China for the Express Rail Link, the 2018 budget, the controversial bridge to Macau/China, the anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre.
Achievements since January 2018:
- Transparency: We published our public Annual Report and Transparency Report and completed our 2017 audit.
- New base: The HKFP team moved to The Hive’s new co-working space in Wong Chuk Hang: The Hive Spring.
- RSF praise: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) upgraded Hong Kong’s press freedom ranking in May, stating that Hong Kong Free Press is part of an “organised resistance to Beijing’s meddling.” We were invited to Seoul to help launch the report. RSF will link with us to host future events in Hong Kong.
- New hires: We hired two, new full-time staff: journalist Holmes Chan and Production Editor Jennifer Creery.
- Fundraising independently: We scrapped our partnership with third-party fundraising websites to host our own donation software – it saved us thousands of dollars in admin fees.
- More events: We have begun hosting more events, including a domestic worker documentary showing and Q&A. In August, we will host a forum on gender equality in news.
- Website issues fixed: A number of long-outstanding tasks related to web infrastructure were completed, including a move to entirely new servers. Dozens of bug fixes, CSS design issues and load bearing issues were fixed by a developer, resulting in a faster website.
- Community/profile: HKFP hosted several groups of students at the office. We spoke at TEDx Wanchai 2018 and attended the 2018 East-West Center conference in Singapore.
- Social media: We will gain access to Facebook Crowdtangle in July 2018, so we can better manage our Facebook presence.
- Staff benefits: HKFP staff now receive dental care and healthcare as of June 2018, and enjoyed a pay rise this spring to better bring conditions in line with the local industry.
Funding in 2018:
We are highly transparent and responsible with our meagre funds, operating on a shoestring in order to ensure we survive in the long-run, whilst ensuring staff are properly rewarded.
- Income: Our current revenue streams include: One-off/monthly donations (cheque/transfer, cards, Flattr, AliPay, Bitcoin), Google/YouTube display ads; directly purchased rate card ads; events; content sales; merchandise sales; resyndication through Dow Jones Factiva; and Apple News ads. As of 2018, we now accept coin donations, via CoinDragon, at machines across the city and have a small income from Book Depository online store referrals.
- Spending: Currently, we spend around HK$140,000 per month. Our expenses include: Salaries, office rent; accountancy costs; reporting equipment; audit and tax services; company secretarial services; accountancy and security software; AFP news wire service, Google Suite tools; web hosting and domains; developer/systems maintenance contract; employee insurance; employee healthcare; travel and transport; postage/stationery; and meals/drinks for sources and volunteers.
- Fundraising: In February/March, we raised HK$847,000 from 850 donors during our annual funding drive for one-off contributions – our best result yet. Through PayPal, 59 monthly donors give an average of HK$266 – totalling HK$13,529/month. Through our self-hosted Stripe payment system, we have 40 patrons giving an average of HK$150 – totalling HK$6,223/month. We receive HK$19,759 from patrons each month, excluding a handful who donate by cheque/transfer. Donors are overwhelmingly from Hong Kong, though we also have backers in the US, UK, Australia and China.
Ten ways to support us:
Not-for-profit, run by journalists and completely independent, the HKFP team relies on readers to keep us going and to help safeguard press freedom. Learn more about our achievements in our latest Annual Report. Our Transparency Report shows how carefully we spend every cent.
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Make an instant one-off donation of any amount, or make a monthly commitment and become an HKFP Patron. Most costs accepted. HK$200 per month – the price of a weekly coffee – helps us achieve sustainability and safeguards our independence.
Here are nine more ways to support our team – click an option below:
”1. Donate directly by cheque“
Cheques save us on fees. Please make them payable to Hong Kong Free Press Limited and post it – along with your name and address to – Hong Kong Free Press, The Hive Spring, 3/F Remex Centre, 42 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong. [Please do not send cash.]
Donations are confidential – a paper-trail is required for our internal accountancy records.
”2. Donate directly by bank transfer“
For setting up one-off, or regular, bank transfers, please email a screenshot or phone photo of the receipt/confirmation to firstname.lastname@example.org, after you have made arrangements. Thank you!
Our local HSBC account details:
- Account name: Hong Kong Free Press Limited
- Account number: 817887532-838
- Bank name: HSBC Hong Kong
- Bank address: 1 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong.
- Bank code: 004. Branch number: 817. SWIFT address: HSBCHKHHHKH
Donations are confidential – a paper-trail is required for our internal accountancy records.
”3. Donate leftover coins at Coin Dragon machines”
Do you have a big jar or bag of coins at home? Donate leftover 10c, 20c, 50c, HK$1, HK$2 and HK$5 coins to HKFP at Coin Dragon machines across the city.
”4. Advertise with us”
Support us and promote your business or cause at the same time. Request our rate card and consider our affordable range of digital marketing solutions.
”5. Donate gear or sponsor us”
We welcome donations of new computer or audio-visual equipment. We also welcome sponsorship of key website sections or our ongoing operational costs – please get in touch if you can support us.
”6. Shop at the Book Depository with our referral link”
Shop at the Book Depository using this HKFP referral link. We will receive 5 per cent of each book purchase. Free delivery to Hong Kong.
”7. Help spread the word”
”8. ‘Tip’ us with a Flattr micro-donation”
You can ‘tip’ Hong Kong Free Press with a micro-donation via Flattr. The Flattr button is available at the top of every HKFP article.
”9. Donate Bitcoin”
Help us eliminate processing fees or make a fully anonymous contribution by donating BitCoin via Bitpay.
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”How can I change or cancel my regular donation?”
Yes, you may cancel your monthly donation at any time by emailing email@example.com – we aim to respond within 1-2 business days. Or, if you donated after May 2018, you can manage your donation yourself on this page.
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