I graduated from j-school just last year, and was amazed at how much incredible content my classmates were producing, from radio documentaries about refugees becoming tour guides in Berlin to in-depth features about mindfulness in classrooms, and everything in between. Lots of this work never saw the light of day.
I was also amazed at how few opportunities there are for paid work experience. Most of us worked for free all summer. This means students who don't have access to considerable financial help can’t attend j-school, and that means fewer perspectives with eyes on Canadian stories.
Paper Plane aims to solve both of these problems by bringing you one original feature story from a student journalist in Canada every other week, edited by me.
We’ll start by paying our freelancers $0.10/word when we launch with 25 subscribers. As we grow, we’ll increase our rate until we hit $0.20/word. Then I’ll start paying myself a wage of $25/hour up to 20 hours/week, before increasing the freelance rate to $0.30/word.
From there, the sky is the limit.
When money is a barrier to going to post-secondary school, it means only students with a certain amount of privilege can attend. This means journalism suffers from a lack of diversity, and it means you get fewer perspectives on what’s happening.
Pitching as a student freelancer can also be a little scary, and we’re here to help students learn skills they’ll need to succeed after graduation. If you’re a student, we’ve prepared documents to help you pitch and write for us, whether you’re a freshman or about to graduate.
When you subscribe to Paper Plane, you’re contributing to a sustainable model for journalism, and you’re helping students with a variety of backgrounds learn and support themselves while bringing you stories that you won’t find anywhere else.
What's in it for you.
A subscription to Paper Plane means you get:
- An original story written by a student journalist in Canada every other Saturday morning.
- Regular updates on how we're doing on our subscriber goals.
- A say about what we do with our subscriber income once we hit 140 subs. We'll ask you what you want to see from us.
Let’s set some goals.
We want to be completely transparent with how we’re using your $8/month:
- 25 subscribers: We start publishing biweekly journalism. We can pay student freelancers $0.10/word.
- 40 subscribers: We can pay $0.15/word.
- 50 subscribers: We can pay $0.20/word.
- 50-115 subscribers: I can start paying Haneen Al-Hassoun, our social media manager, with the money that's leftover, up to 20 hours/week at 130 subs.
- 130 subscribers: We can pay $0.25/word.
- 140 subscribers: We can pay $0.30/word.
- 140+ subscribers: If things really take off, we’ll decide together what's next. We can start hiring illustrators for student stories, publishing more often, or any number of other cool things that we'll decide on together.
A variety of perspectives is important, and will only improve any publication. That's why, from time to time once we can afford it, I'd like to pay guest editors to bring you special editions of Paper Plane.
Paper Plane will prioritize editors who bring a different perspective than that of a white man, so that the stories you get aren't just filtered through the same set of experiences and perspectives.
Open Source Platform
We like to think that we're all building this together, so we've made the Paper Plane website open source. That means if you write CSS/Handlebars and want to help us build our platform or make changes to our theme, you can submit pull requests on our Github repository!
We're excited about the idea that Paper Plane could become a platform that other journalists can duplicate to start their own publication, and we're excited about inviting web developers to help us build something really meaningful.
You can help us grow.
Every paid subscription brings us one step closer to 25 subscribers so we can we can start bringing you stories.
If you’re a j-school in Canada, consider supporting Paper Plane so your students have a place to get real world, paid experience as a freelancer.
And if you’re a student, please read our pitch guidelines to learn more about how to pitch us. We want to hear from you!
We’ll be seeing you around real soon.