On World Press Freedom Day, HKFP shares updates as we expand our newsroom, and make new investments in video and data journalism.

The 2022 HKFP team – Back row: Reporters Peter Lee and Kelly Ho, Editor-in-chief Tom Grundy, Associate Editor Mercedes Hutton. Middle row: Reporters Almond Li, Lea Mok and Candice Chau. Centre bottom: Hillary Leung.

HKFP expansion:

HKFP added two experienced reporters to our team last month – Almond Li and Lea Mok. This means we have the largest team of full-time staff since our launch seven years ago.

Almond Li

Almond Li is a Hong Kong-based journalist who previously worked for Reuters and Happs TV as a freelancer, and as a reporter at Hong Kong International Business Channel, Citizen News and Commercial Radio Hong Kong. She earned her Masters in Journalism at the University of Southern California. She has an interest in LGBT+, mental health and environmental issues. More by Almond Li

Lea Mok

Lea Mok is a multimedia reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously contributed to The Initium, StandNews, MingPao and others. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. More by Lea Mok

They join our recent recruits – editor Mercedes Hutton and reporters Peter Lee and Hillary Leung.

Mercedes Hutton

Mercedes is a Hong Kong-based British journalist with an interest in environmental and social issues. She has written for the Guardian and the BBC and previously worked at the South China Morning Post. More by Mercedes Hutton

Peter Lee

Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK. More by Peter Lee

Hillary Leung

Hillary has an interest in social issues and politics. Previously, she reported on Asia broadly – including on Hong Kong’s 2019 protests – for TIME Magazine and covered local news at Coconuts Hong Kong. More by Hillary Leung

With our investment in Sony photography gear, we will be handling all multimedia in-house and producing more video this year.

As for data journalism, we have been reporting on Covid-19, the exodus from Hong Kong and last year’s election using charts, graphs and other new storytelling and number-crunching tools.

HKFP’s new office in Kennedy Town. Photo: HKFP.

Finances:

In 2022, HKFP is spending more each month than it receives in income. However, as a non-profit, we are able to make use of previous years’ surplus to continue our expansion whilst we work to return to sustainability.

  • In total, 1,065 readers contribute HK$206,680 per month. We saw a fall of 1.3 per cent in the number of monthly Patrons since January 1, from 1,080 to 1,065.
  • In February 2022 – the latest month for which figures are available – HKFP saw a total income of HK$321,658.91 – including income from reader contributions, content sales and advertising. We spent HK$357,818.79 in February – mostly on full-time staff (HK$270,400) and freelance fees (HK$15,500) – though our office rent and web hosting costs are rising dramatically this year.
HKFP spending and income in HK$ millions.
  • We expect to see an income of around HK$3.8 million in 2022, and will spend HK$4.3 million – a “loss” of HK$500,000, which will be covered by our reserves.
  • Our 2021 accounts have been submitted to our independent auditors. As a non-profit limited by guarantee entity, HKFP is externally audited each year. We expect to report an income last year of HK$4.4 million and spending of HK$3.7 million, leaving us HK$677,273 to be reinvested into HKFP for 2022.

Please consider supporting our team with one-off or monthly support – HKFP is paywall-free and relies on reader contributions to continue.

Reader growth:

HKFP has seen a growth in audience across all platforms since January.

Our Instagram following rose 14 per cent as we rebranded this year, whilst we also redesigned our free, weekly newsletter last month.

Top marks for credibility:

HKFP was reassessed against the NewsGuard initiative’s credibility and transparency criteria in February, scoring top marks. NewsGuard lists green or red credibility scores for over 4,000 news websites, representing 95 per cent of all online news engagement. The initiative is run by journalists and is part of a global fightback against misinformation, unreliable content and fake news. 

HKFP received a green rating and a trust score of 100 out of 100.

Press freedom:

On World Press Freedom Day on Tuesday, Hong Kong plummeted 68 places to 148th in the Reporters Without Borders 2022 Press Freedom Index – the largest fall of any territory. In 2002, the city was ranked 18th.

Since the onset of the security law in 2020 – newsrooms have been raided, editors arrested, outlets have disbanded in fear, all whilst the authorities said press freedom was intact. Read our full timeline here.

With our impartial stance, transparent funding, and balanced coverage guided by an Ethics Code and Corrections Policy, we believe we have staying power, for as long as readers continue to support our work.

HKFP has made common-sense preparations to protect staff and sources, but is nonetheless committed to continuing our on-the-ground award-winning reporting. HKFP will hold the line and press on.

100 per cent independent, governed by an ethics code and not-for-profit, HKFP is #PressingOn with its impartial, award-winning coverage, achieving top marks for credibility. Founded in 2015, we are backed by readers and run by journalists – there is no tycoon, no shareholders and no Chinese conglomerate behind us – no-one edits our editors.

Hong Kong Free Press

Hong Kong Free Press is a new, non-profit, English-language news source seeking to unite critical voices on local and national affairs. Free of charge and completely independent, HKFP arrives amid rising concerns over declining press freedom in Hong Kong and during an important time in the city’s constitutional development.