Hong Kong Free Press celebrates seven years online on Wednesday, publishing almost 22,000 news and commentary pieces since our launch, and raising over HK$25 million to fund non-profit, impartial, independent journalism.
As the city’s most transparent news outlet, guided by an Ethics Code, we are externally audited each year and publish details of our finances every January. Today, we are publishing an early update of our 2022 income and spending…
Our yet-to-be-confirmed report, detailing our income and spending, shows that we made a loss of just over HK$46,000 in the first five months of 2022, as costs rose and income dipped.
Our number of monthly supporters dipped by 1.2 per cent in 2022, with 1,037 Patrons contributing HK$204,063 per month.
HKFP is powered by the kind support of our monthly Patrons. When you contribute to our newsroom, every cent is put to careful use and goes directly towards frontline journalism and original reporting. Download a copy of our latest Annual Report.
We have rapidly expanded since December, hiring four new staff members, including an editor and multimedia reporter. This has allowed us to invest in video, photography, court reporting and data journalism. Our 2022 expansion represents our largest full-time team yet.
In turn, our payroll, insurance and office rent costs rose, whilst web hosting costs are set to rise by 60 per cent this year. HKFP is predicted to make a loss of up to HK$250,000 in 2022, but is able to reinvest its previous surplus.
Current revenue streams:
- Reader contributions: includes one-off and monthly Patron contributions by cheque/transfer, PayPal and card, as well as merch sales profit and shopping referral links.
- Ads & content sales: includes ad income from display ads; Apple News & Facebook ads, Google/YouTube ads, directly purchased rate card ads and content sales [from media outlets such as The Guardian, institutions and syndication partners LexisNexis, Dow Jones Factiva & Nordot].
Surplus recycled: As a non-profit, with no shareholders or investors, HKFP’s surplus was recycled back into the company for use in 2021. As of 2021, HKFP is retaining a HK$1.5m legal defence fund in light of new threats to press freedom.
Efficiency: HKFP is run as efficiently and prudently as possible, in order to maximise the impact of our donors’ generosity. We make savings by partnering with other media outlets, using free software and making full use of teamwork and automation to save on costs.
Staffing: During 2020, we employed 5-6 full-time staff members and expanded our pool of freelancers. We spent 72% of our income on paying our hard-working staff and freelancers.
HKFP Patrons: HKFP relies on a membership model. Small amounts of income from a large pool of Patrons helps support our team, sustain our operations with more security, and guarantee our independence.
HKFP has seen audience growth across all platforms since January.
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.
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.
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, and outlets have disbanded in fear, all whilst the authorities said press freedom was intact.
At least six news outlets have disappeared since June 2020. 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.