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Digital Discourses
Turning Readers Into Subscribers

Panel 3

As traditional news media are struggling with decreasing advertising revenue, many recently developed news media organizations are entering the market. The business model of these new organizations is predominantly based on reader support, e.g. subscription, membership, crowdsourcing, or donation. How does this model support quality journalism? Is it sustainable in the long run, and is it a better model for the public?


Evi Mariani © Rosa Panggabean

Evi Mariani

is a co-founder and the executive director of Project Multatuli, a public service journalism initiative launched in May 2021 and the first member-focused media outlet in Indonesia. Before Project Multatuli, she was a managing editor at The Jakarta Post, where she worked for 18 years until January 2021. Along with several other journalists in four media outlets, Evi received the Excellence in Public Service Journalism Award from the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) in 2020 for her collaborative project on revealing the hidden crimes of sexual abuse in campuses across Indonesia in a series called #NamaBaikKampus. The same collaborative project received the Tasrif Award in 2020 from Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI).

Sonny SwePrivat: © Sonny Swe

Sonny Swe

is co-founder and CEO of Frontier Myanmar. He entered the industry in 1996 as a printer and four years later together with an Australian partner co-founded The Myanmar Times—the country's first non-governmental English-language newspaper in four decades.
The groundbreaking newspaper was forced to operate under strict military censorship, and in 2005 Sonny Swe was sentenced to 14 years in prison for breaching censorship laws. Released under a government amnesty in 2013, he briefly rejoined The Myanmar Times but then moved on to become CEO of Mizzima Media Group and in 2015 eventually launched the Black Knight Media Group.

Lynn D'CruzPrivat © Lynn D'Cruz

Lynn D'Cruz

Lynn D’Cruz’s policy in life is quite simple: “It’s not a job, it’s life.” A graduate in English Literature from the University Malaya, she started her career lecturing in English 10 years ago, after which she began working in the media. In 2014 she spearheaded Malaysiakini’s first crowdfunding campaign. The Buy a Brick campaign raised RM 1.7 million towards financing Malaysiakini’s first self-owned premise @Kini, in Petaling Jaya. She has a Master’s degree in Managerial Psychology and is a 2019 Google News Initiative Newsroom Leadership Program Fellow. Today she heads the Membership Development department. She has launched Nifty Notes, Youthphoria and NowEternal, products aimed at expanding membership @Malaysiakini.

Theresa Bäuerlein© Dominik Butzmann

Theresa Bäuerlein

is an award-winning journalist and book author based in Berlin. She has written and co-authored seven books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her novel Das war der gute Teil des Tages has been adapted for the movie Hannas Reise. She co-founded the digital journalism platform Krautreporter, an independent, reader-supported online magazine.


Viriya SinggihPrivat © Viriya Singgih

Viriya Singgih

is a journalist at Project Multatuli. Prior to that he was a journalist at The Jakarta Post and Bloomberg News. He is experienced in covering many issues, including energy, mining, macro economy, and politics. In 2015 he published his book Menjejal Jakarta: Pusat dan Pinggiran dalam Sehimpun Reportase (Cramming Jakarta: Center and Periphery in a Collection of Reportage).