You can now become a part owner in one of Sweden’s most exciting media projects. From last year’s high-profile crowdfunding campaign, we raised 1.3 million SEK. In 2015 we also managed to raise an additional 1.2 million, proving there’s a strong interest in quality journalism, which people are willing to pay for. The revenue for the first year landed at 60 percent higher than anticipated.
Together with 3,027 people, we have started a movement with the goal of casting light on the blank spots of our world while increasing awareness of journalism as a crucial cornerstone in a democratic society.
Read more and find the financial information here: https://www.fundedbyme.com/sv/campaign/7506/bli-delagare-i-blank-spot-project/?type=e&language=secondary&button=tile&from=browse
Table of contents
• Executive summary
• Business Idea
• The reporting produced by Blank Spot
• Marketing and Sales
• Business description
• The Founders
• Key Success factors within the team
• Competetive Analysis
• Brand Promise
• Unique differentiator
• Strategy to reach goals
• Use of funds
• ¨Press cuttings and industry recognition
• Statements from some members
Become part owner in one of Sweden’s most exciting media projects. From last year’s high-profile
crowdfunding campaign, we raised 1.3 million SEK. In 2015 we also managed to raise an additional 1.2
million, proving there’s a strong interest in quality journalism, which people are willing to pay for. The
revenue for the first year landed at 60 percent higher than anticipated.
Together with 3,027 people, we have started a movement with the goal of casting light on the blank spots of
our world while increasing awareness of journalism as a crucial cornerstone in a democratic society.
The fast-changing Internet has caused bigger demand for the journalistic craft. Large media organizations
have also been challenged by the digitization of their medium. And at the same time, strong forces like
terrorist organizations, multinational corporations, and the general public underestimate the power of
journalism in general.
We took note of this alarming development and in 2015, took action to find and produce the stories that do
not get reported, give attention to the conflicts that are forgotten or ignored, and, give a voice to the
voiceless. Our hope is to raise awareness and remind people that journalism is a pillar of democratic
Blank Spot offers independent and investigative journalism for the global reader who demands
deeper and more hard-hitting reporting than what’s offered in mainstream media. We give those who
have rarely encountered journalists a voice—this includes victims of persecution, corruption and
human rights abuses. We shine a light on conflicts, continents, and forgotten or ignored perspectives
missing from other media.
Blank Spot is also unique in its close, collaborative relationship with readers. We regard readers as
members of our organization, involved in the work in a variety of ways. Together, we produce quality
Our journalism serves an educational purpose, exhibitng the importance of quality journalism as a
crucial element of democratic societies. See our blankspotproject.se platform.
The reporting produced
by Blank Spot Project
• Shines light into dark corners and illustrates the ”blank spots” of the world
• Covers underreported issues
• Exposes abuse of power
Blank Spot Project is based in traditional journalism and predominantly financed by the readers
paying for content on an ad-free platform. Our readers demonstrate their support with dollars. In
other words, Blank Spot Project returns to the roots of journalism. What makes us unique is our
collaboration with readers, whom we consider more like members of the team, involved in the work
in a myriad of ways. Together we produce quality journalism.
Marketing and sales
• The target group is the global reader, who’s interested in a larger perspective of the world. Two
particularly interesting demographics are the population of young adults 20-30 years of age and
purchasing power news consumers. 93% of Swedes have access to the Internet. 70% of them use
Facebook. 40 million Swedish Google searches are done daily. A new Novus survey says 68% of
Swedes say today's international reporting lacks broader and deeper perspectives. Among
students, that figure is as high as 84 percent.
• The book, ”438 days,” written by Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson about their imprisonment in
Ethiopia for writing a story, created a ”Zlatan Ibrahimovic-effect.” The sales were fantastic: 200,000
copies with full houses at speaking engagements throughout Sweden. In a nation with a population
of 10 million, this shows how large and multi-faceted our potential target group is. Blank Spot’s
target group is simply news-thirsty people interested in their world. Our goal is to grow from today’s
3,000 members to 6,000 in 2016 and 30,000 paying readers by the end of 2020.
• We sell quality journailsm to engaged readers via blankspotproject.se. The content is produced by
some of Sweden’s best journalists. An independent editorial staff carefully selects the reporters and
story ideas. Twelve guidelines dictate the editorial work. Stories are often shared with other national
and international media. In addition, readers are given an active digital presence of editorial staff
via different platforms, from Facebook to Instagram and Twitter to Slideshare, all driving traffic to
blankspotproject.se and alerting readers to newly-published material. Reader engagement remains
high within these channels.
• Our collaboration with our readers is unique. They are members and co-creators. We aim to form
long-term relationship with them, built on trust. The product is based on the interaction between the
readers' curiosity and awareness and our journalistic craft. We aim to grow from 3,000 to 6,000
subscribers in 2016.
• Our main revenue comes from members who pay for quality journalism. The reportage can
be read by everyone on an open and ad free platform, as we don’t believe in paywalls.
Members show they value our content and format by offering monetary support. In this way,
readers become members, a part of Blank Spot—a perk people are willing to pay for.
• The relationship between editorial staff and reader makes for better journalism. Our revenue
also comes in form of larger donations and support, all while sellingknowledge, competence
• Three billion people are connected by the internet today, and via blankspotproject.se,
readers get up-to-date news and learn about unique events and incidents. Blank Spot also
utilizes the knowledge and interest of our readers, who can offer tips on stories or issues we
should look into. We engage our members in our unique exposés of corruption and human
Blank Spot distributes content through Blankspotproject.se
and social media channels. The founders are also using
their personal brand platforms to distribute the
journalism/content. Some of the Blank Spot reportage is
recurringly published in printed outlets such as our first
issue, Blind Spot #0. Additionly, the meetings between
journalists and the readers nationally and internationally
are vital to our distribution and reach. Our longform pieces
usually enjoy high visibility and click-through rates when
picked up by traditional media.
• MARTIN Schibbye is a freelance journalist with Stockholm as his base and the world as his office. During a
reportage trip in Ethiopia, he ended up in prison for 438 days, for doing his job. Martin has long searched for
a model that allowed him to do the unique reportages and deliver straight to the readers the way he knows it
could be done—by taking things in his own hands. With Blank Spot he packed his reporter bag, ready to
head again to record the voices of people who otherwise never come in contact with a journalist.
• BRIT Stakston is a digital strategist, PR manager and CEO for Blank Spot Project. She runs the
communication bureau, Stakston. She debates and discusses the Internet’s impact on society and
democracy, in addition to being an author and strategist. Board of director engagements: Fojo Media
Institute, Wikimedia Sverige, 1.6 Million Club and Bio Gaia. Member of the Press Subsidies Council.
Recipient of the Social Media Prize 2015 for their public educational work linked to the digital
• NILS Resare has worked with international reporting since the early 1990s and has published a number of
high profile disclosures about the Swedish weapons export industry and corruption. Nils is also a founder of
the organization “Eye on Corruption” whose network includes the best investigative journalists in the world.
Key success factors within the team
• The urge to change the world
• The dedication amongst the three founders
• The journalistic craft that exposes power abuse and offers wider perspectives
• Sweden’s absolute best journalists and digital strategists
• Respect for the readers and their competence/awareness
• Develops a close reader relationship by viewing them as more like team members
• Both digital and in-person meeting places among members
• ”Slow journalism” as a method
• Commitment to long-term presence in reporting sites in working with local sources and
• Interviews the concerned, victimized and powers-that-be directly, without local non-
profits or aid organizations
• Thorough research and development time
• Unique, niche and engaging
• Give unique perspectives while working with the ”whole picture”
• Find our own news
• Use the digital magic of new storytelling formats
• Strong personal brands of all participating journalists and digital strategists
• A reader hunger for quality international journalism and diverse perspectives in news
• Transparence in business methods and model
• Innovation and courage with the founders for trying new ways of delivering quality and
• Deep understanding of their readers/target group
• A meeting place for members, both live and in cost-efficient, digital platforms
• 3,000 enthustiastic backers
• The ability and curiosity to build a movement for foreign reporting. To build and
maintain a close relationship, Blank Spot Project demands strong brand recognition
with buzz-creators and journalists.
• Courage to invite readers in to previously unknown or censored arenas
• The ability to deliver with short turnaround
• The desire for quality journalism in the wake of clicks and viral hits
• Increased citizen awareness of world news. Most want to know, and help, to change
our reality in countries like Tibet, Burma and Nigeria
• A thirst for knowledge and wider perspective than what’s available in the traditional
• Quality journalism instead of robotics journalism
• The need to be in-the-know, in a digitized society of newsfeeds
• Collaboration and content-sharing culture
• An attractive concept in a time when media corporations are chasing new business
Blank Spot Project is a complement to the international reporting available today. Our PR plan for
foreign correspondence in itself has already made several of Sweden’s largest daily newspapers
sharpen their pencils and beefed up their existing international coverage. In addition to the dailies are
magazines such as Fokus, Kit, Filter News55, which would be direct competition if they upped their
Over the last year, some media outlets have launched exciting foreign coverage efforts. These are still
rooted in fairly traditional news logic. Along with our desire to reach the global citizen through genuine
interaction, we find little competition in our ambition to be present before, during and after incidents and
conflicts. There are some niche media actors within the aid organization community doing a good job,
partially picking up on these themes, but none with as close connection and collaboration with readers
The real competition (and examples) are with the large social media networks such as Facebook,
SnapChat, and in terms of their development of news services, VICE.
Platforms like Medium and Longform are outlets we aim to compete with.
As far as member engagement, there are the traditional movements that compete with us (and
services like Product Hunt as well).
Global activist groups and NGOs engaged in world issues are also interesting to consider as
competition for our target groups’ time and money, more so than other media.
”Journalism without the
middle man and censure”
Quality over speed
and more perspectives
Be in on international
Team – the editorial staff.
BSP meet ups.
What does BSP
Access to education.
Editorial staff accessibility.
A mirror to the world.
come across as:
A pinnacle of international
Our brand promise:
independent and investigative journalism for the global reader who demands deeper and more hard-hitting reporting.
Makes me feel:
What sets Blank Spot apart from other media is our prioritization of interaction with our readers.
It’s just as an important part of our work, considering the content we provide. We see Blank Spot
as a collaborative effort, based just as much on quality journalism as it is on engaged readers
Therefore, our journalists are both dialogue managers and content providers. In 2016, thanks to
the Internet, people know more about the world than ever before, but it’s clear certain
perspectives are missing. Our readers help us to identify these blank spots.
Strategy to reach goals, page 1/2
A few of the strategic goals we’ve reached so far for the establishing of Blank Spot, marketing and
• Crowdfunding resulting in 1.3 million SEK (2,300 supporters). The target figure was 1 million SEK.
• We kept our promise to our backers about launching a web site and publishing two longform
pieces before September 2015.
• We have published a total of seven longform stories from Burma, Thailand, Burundi and Peru.
These have been translated to both German and English while gaining international attention.
• About 630 articles have been written about Blank Spot Project.
• A close relationship between readers and editorial staff has been developed via digital channels
and physical meetings around Sweden.
• Nominated for the prestigious Swedish journalism prize for "The Innovator of the Year” with the
following testimony: "Because they, with a passion for international journalism, started a digital
movement with the aim to shed light on the world's blind spots."
• Nominated by consumers- for the ”PR campaign of the year” by the Swedish communication
• Won a European Excellence Award in the web category.
• Named one of the best sites in Internet World's "Top 100" in the category: "Magazine".
• Produced a print magazine—Blind Spot #0—for all members during 2016 as evidence of what
members contributed to.
Strategy to reach goals, page 2/2
The aforementioned has yielded 3,027 persons supporting us. With the web platform in place,
focus is on expanding member numbers as follows:
• 6,000 members in 2016
• 10,000 members in 2017
• 15,000 members in 2018
• 20,000 members in 2019
• 30,000 members in 2020
Our revenue in 2015 was about 2.5 million SEK of which 1.4 million came from crowdfunding, 1
million in donations and 100,000 for sales of competence. The larger donation came from the
Millenium Foundation. Our costs of 2.5 million SEK have largely been used for the reportages
and the salaries of our journalists and editorial staff. In five years, our goals are to rely on 60-70
percent income, 20-30 percent donations and 10 percent sales of competence. Our revenue in
2016 is estimated at 5 million SEK.
Use of funds
With solid financing, we can reach our goals faster. Our idea and business model proved itself already
in 2015. The revenue landed at 60 percent higher than the anticipated 1 million the first year. Now
we’re aiming for the long run. This growth happened despite us being interrupted by building
operations, leaving us unable to pursue all the stories we have in the pipeline. We need more
resources to facilitate working strategically toward our goals, parallel with developing our web platform
and securing continuous growth in subscribers.
• · 40 % finances an in-house web team, as well as developing new payment forms.
• · 30 % finances a boosted marketing plan and recruitment of subscribers.
• · 30 % finances a “democracy team” to watchdog a region in the world.
An investment in Blank Spot is an investment in a growth company and the freedom of speech. In
2015, our business model was put to the test and we doubled our anticipated financial goal with 1
million dollars. We see a growing subscriber pool and an expanding organization. Backers will invest in
an organization with a solid and long term development plan. Delivering high-quality editorial content to
our members is key and must never be compromised in order to yield quick profits. Partners get a
lifetime membership and free access to all of our lectures and workshops, as well as the ability to
follow the Blank Spot work in an exclusive partner group that meets the editorial staff twice per year for
balance meetings. Investors become an integral part of Sweden’s most exciting journalistic initiative,
with great return potential. Blank Spot is founded on the belief that journalists, readers and co-owners
all work together.
”First and foremost I want to support you because journalism needs to happen.
”I’m primarily offering moral support for a great and important initiative.”
”The journalistic mode of today degenerates to ‘simple’ news.
I think what you do is very important!”
”The idea was fantastic! I was so sick and tired of the cutesy-fication of all the news
and communication of today.”
”Wanted to support an interesting project that maybe could make an impact
on news reporting and the conditions for journalists.”
”My support is directed toward practical things such as salaries, travel expenses, technical
equipment, etc. But my membership is also a stance-taking of sorts,
an act to push for democracy.”
”My corporation works with international issues and we believe it’s important to have
independent and investigative journalism.”
””Professional and unique international reporting! I am also a fan of
Martin Schibbye and know this is a bonafide organization.”
”It’s important to get information about the whole world, not just certain areas about which all
media tells the same story. Richness in the perspectives. Reportage that startle me and makes
me think twice, and teaches me something new—it’s important!”
” Highly interesting initiative, pointing us forward.”
”Engaged journalists who burn for bringing back reportages about incidents and people we
otherwise don’t know exist, or we have chosen to ignore or forget.”