Now the economical situation and the decline of traditional advertising (yes I call conventional graphical advertising (Banners, etc.) traditional, they are in trouble.
Besides having in South Korea and around the world lots of contributing citizen journalists, they have now 70 employees (down from 80 one year ago), notable cost for contributors (in South Korea) and cost of infrastructure.
From more than 4 million daily visitors only 2.000 contribute, participate money to sustain the operation. And so OhmyNews heavily relies on advertiser and sponsors (has been around 80 % of their income in the past) - but we all know that during this economical crisis corporate advertising has been going down even more than before.
Last year they where around 400.000 Euro in the red and 1st half 2009 already shows a minus of 280.000 Euro and more to come.
And that is the way OhmyNews want to safe this lighthouse project of citizen participatory Internet media in South Korea.
Oh Yeon-ho, Founder, CEO and OhmyNews Representative Journalist, wrote in OhmyNews:
Korean Version| in part translated here
Let us surprise and shock the world once more. Let us change the course of media once more. Together with you, we would like to become the first model of citizen participatory Internet media that becomes financially self-reliant through the power of the people, awake and acting with their conscience.via /more OhmyNews
Today, OhmyNews will begin the "100,000 member club" project. Our 100,000 members' club is a group run by citizens acting with their conscience to make OhmyNews financially independent.
What is OhmyNews' value for you? Our 100,000 member club will contribute KRW 10,000 per month (about 5,63 Euro) and enable OhmyNews to become wholly financially self-reliant and continue to develop and sustain itself.
It remains to be seen, however, whether the OhmyNews Club 100.000 will be enough to make OhmyNews 10th Birthday in February 2010 a happy one. I keep my fingers crossed for a great future of OhmyNews and a role model we can learn from the good and the not so good ways to further democracy and citizen journalism!