Truthout is committed to a vision of journalism in pursuit of justice. We understand that courageous journalism can and does drive social transformation. Through our work, we reveal systemic injustice; provide a platform for powerful ideas; elevate authentic storytelling; and develop journalistic practices that align with our dedication to accountability, equity and integrity.
We believe in building the world we want to live in — within our organization, through our journalistic work and through our work’s impact on society. For more on our editorial approach, please read Remaking Media in the Pursuit of Justice and A Call to the Media: Let’s Go Beyond “Preserving Democracy.”
Producing truly independent media means there is no corporate or government influence over what gets published — that’s hard to come by these days. At Truthout, we do not accept a single cent from corporate “partners” or advertisers, we are not owned by anyone and we have never been part of a media conglomerate.
Instead, Truthout has been funded by readers since the beginning. In FY2020, 82 percent of our budget was made up of individual donations — and the average donation was just $24!
The 2020 Izzy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Independent Media was shared by Truthout and reporters Liliana Segura at The Intercept and Tim Schwab writing for The Nation. The judges commented: "Through the year of social distancing, Truthout proved that journalists need not be distant from the people hardest hit by the pandemic, including prisoners and ICE detainees."
We launched our series, "Struggle and Solidarity: Writing Toward Palestinian Liberation," because we can’t look away from settler-colonial violence against Palestinians — or the growing movement for a free Palestine.
This new series follows the drug war into the pharmacy and the doctor’s office.
In this new monthly podcast, host Mike Ludwig explores the front lines of the climate crisis with news and perspectives from experts and activists on the ground.
Our book, Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?, about police violence and the people's resistance in the United States is now available on Audible!
Although our work was already focused on exposing injustice and inspiring action, we refocused a lot of our original coverage on how the pandemic impacted (and continues to impact) people’s lives, particularly the ways in which working-class and otherwise marginalized people were disproportionately impacted.
We delved into what the situation might portend for our future amid deepening climate catastrophe. And we documented the ways in which the spread of the coronavirus accelerated in prisons, jails and immigrant detention. Through analyses and podcasts, we spotlighted the ways in which the Trump administration leveraged this crisis to promote both overt racism and fascist policy measures — and we highlighted ways in which we could mobilize to oppose that push.
Yes, mobilization has been possible, and it’s been happening! We called on reporters and movement leaders to write about the community-based mutual aid projects, policy advocacy, electoral reforms and new organizing strategies that offered some hope in the most grim moments. We aimed to amplify those efforts amid the torrent of bad news, because we knew the air was ripe for transformation.
We are immensely proud of all the journalism we put out in FY 2020, but we're perhaps proudest of our coverage at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our series Despair and Disparity: The Uneven Burdens of COVID-19 now contains more than 280 original articles (which have been read 1,266,120 times!) covering the political, economic, environmental and racial aspects of the pandemic in order to highlight the injustices baked into the pandemic’s impacts.
We knew that even if the trend of a dramatically decreased COVID presence continues, the pandemic’s socioeconomic impacts will linger, particularly in working-class, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, immigrant, disabled and aging communities. That's why Truthout will continue to track the grassroots movements that emerged out of the pandemic, such as mutual aid drives, labor struggles -- including among gig workers, teachers, medical workers, and domestic workers -- health care advocacy and, of course, the resurgence of the movement for Black lives.
Some of the stories in this series featured: reporting by incarcerated people (including Lacino Hamilton, Joseph Dole and Christopher Blackwell) and mothers of prisoners (including Rosemary Cade, Armanda Shackelford and Regina Russell) about the torture-like conditions in COVID-laden prisons; Mike Ludwig’s reporting on the surge in overdoses during the pandemic — and how the DEA contributed to it; Victoria Law’s investigations into COVID’s rapid spread in women’s prisons and Ella Fassler’s coverage of COVID-driven prisoner uprisings; Jen Deerinwater's report on how the historic oppression of Native people worsens the pandemic’s effects on their communities; Ella Fassler, Alex Ferrer, Terra Graziani and Jacob Woocher’s coverage of the abandonment of unhoused people (and police disruption of aid to unhoused people) amid COVID; Jack Herrera's report on how close quarters have intensified the virus in ICE detention; Leanna First-Arai’s coverage of the persistence of pipeline construction against the protests of Indigenous communities, even during the economic shutdown; and Sharon Zhang’s reporting on the complicity of Trump’s EPA in worsening asthma-causing pollution that increases COVID vulnerability.
The coming year offers us a chance to both recommit to our roots in investigative reporting and imagine exciting new possibilities for how to lift up the work of grassroots movements and visionary paths forward. With the midterms on the horizon, we’ll be doubling down on coverage of racist voter suppression, gerrymandering, and electoral injustice. We also aim to zero in on economic injustice, including the growing wealth gap, the influence of billionaires, and the intersections of racism and classism. We have big plans to chronicle the rising unionization efforts around the country, at large corporations and small organizations alike. And we will rededicate ourselves to illuminating new developments in the climate crisis and the movements to confront it. Meanwhile, we will continue our award-winning coverage of the pandemic’s disparate impacts and offer visions for a transformed future – visions that keep us going, even in the bleakest of times.
But we can’t do this work without your help. We are facing considerable challenges as Facebook and Google have altered their algorithms to reduce the amount of political content on their platforms. This is directly impacting the reach and visibility of thousands of activists, writers and thinkers at a time when honest, independent journalism is crucially needed.