Beyond rehoming: crowdfunding an investigative project | Arkansas Blog

Friday, March 13, 2015

Beyond rehoming: crowdfunding an investigative project

Posted By on Fri, Mar 13, 2015 at 3:00 PM

click to enlarge HARD AT WORK: Benji Hardy. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • HARD AT WORK: Benji Hardy.

The Times has just launched a crowdfunding campaign to support a large-scale investigative project into Arkansas's child welfare system. We're raising money through ioby.org, a platform that supports do-good projects. Donations are tax deductible. 

We've seen a massive response to Benji Hardy's reporting on rehoming and state Rep. Justin Harris. His two recent stories have attracted considerably more readers online than anything we've ever published. Dozens of national outlets have followed his reporting. We've heard from readers all over the country. And for good reason: Much of what he's uncovered is shocking and outrageous. 

The Harris story isn’t finished. There is more to report. We’ll cover those aspects of it in the days and weeks to come. But we want to quickly move beyond Harris to investigate broader questions about the state's child welfare system raised. Our reporting has exposed us to dozens upon dozens of sources who have stories and access to share. What they’ve told us has convinced us of the need to continue what is looking like a massive investigative project.

We think there are more important stories to tell. We have a plan for moving forward. We are poised to effect change.

What we lack is the necessary staff to proceed. To get the second Harris story to press in time, Benji Hardy worked 36 straight hours. Other editors worked 70 hour weeks. That’s not sustainable. Our entire staff, of three reporters and three editors, is what a daily newspaper might throw at a project like this. We know we won't ever have resources like that, but we think, with a slightly larger budget, we'll be able devote sufficient staff to this project to continue uncovering misdoings and inspiring policy change. 

We're looking to hire some folks to help us. If you were moved by our rehoming reporting, we hope you'll consider supporting further efforts. 

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