A number of podcasts I listen to have run “ask me anything” sessions, and I think it’s about time IrishCycle.com does the same.
So, please comment below to ask me anything about IrishCycle.com, how it’s run, how or why we pick stories etc. Within reason, I will try to answer the best I can and as fast as I can.
For new readers: IrishCycle.com is an independent journalism website which covers news and opinion on cycling mainly as transport and greenways in Ireland. Our starting point is in line with national Government policy that more cycling is good — the main point of this website is to point out where that is going wrong.
We do this within journalist norms — news reporting aims to follow expected standards and there’s also a campaigning journalism element of this website, this is in line with a tradition of campaigning journalism (ie The Times’ Cities Fit For Cycling or The Guardian’s Keep it in The Ground etc).
Please post your questions below and this page will be updates as soon as we can with answers.
Keeping on top of issues
Q1: Thanks to Michael for the first question: “How do you manage to keep on top of so many issues, proposals, decisions, etc?”
A1: It feels like I don’t keep on top of enough — for every story covered, there’s usually at least a few others not covered. A lot of my free time (including lunch breaks and parts of my evenings and weekends etc) is taken up by working on the site.
It’s unsustainable in the long-run and, unfortunately, due to time pressures, sometimes what’s covered is the thing that’s easier to cover. IrishCycle.com should be able to (like similar websites such as BikePortland.org which covers a similar population level and topics) have at least one full-time staff member, but it’s a big leap from here to there. It would allow for daily coverage and some more in-depth reporting.
In regards to finding about what’s happening — emails etc from readers and following the agendas of council committee meetings are the two biggest sources of information. Thank you to all of those who inform me about what happens and sorry when I can’t cover everything!
Q2: Oisín asks: “Are you funded by the all-powerful Cycling Lobby?”
A2: While the question might have been tongue in cheek, it’s a good one all the same.
IrishCycle.com is reader-supported. Ramping this up over time is the most likely path to making this website sustainable and continue to independent.
If you like what we do, you can use the PayPal link (below on smaller screens and to the left on larger screens). Please consider making your support monthly — even if you can only afford €12 per year, it’s better split monthly so in the long run we can plan ahead.
Funding currently goes to website hosting, domain names, other web services which support this website (WordPress features etc), equipment, travel, Facebook adverts etc.
Re the all-powerful cycling lobby: Unfortunately the cycling lobby isn’t well-funded In Ireland, but even if it was it would be a conflict of interest to be heavily reliant on such a source alone. It’s worth noting that this websites sometimes disagrees with cycling campaigns, including in recent articles. At the same time, IrishCycle.com always strives to include a diverse set of views.
Q2.1: Hugh asks: “Have you considered advertising as a source of funding?”
A2.1: Reading this blog post on faduda.ie reminded me of your question, which I have thought about on-and-off. The short answer is: Yes, I have thought about advertising and I am still thinking about it.
The long answer is: The potential revenue from advertising is complicated by advertisers wanting clearer results and advertise for the short-term. Using a large advertising network risks annoying readers with irrelevant or otherwise annoying adverting. Worst of all, adverting risks annoying readers who are supporters, who as faduda.ie points outs, are one of the likely main revenue stream for journalism.
A hybrid of advertising and business-supporter model might work along side the reader-supporter model. BikePortland has both advertising and business-subscriptions — so, while there are risks, it’s worth looking at both and keeping an open mind.
If anybody has any thoughts on this please let me know.
Q3: Oisín asks: “What’s your process/policy on guest writing/interviews? Seems people have a lot of content they could express through IrishCycle.com.”
A3: My long to-do list includes setting up a page welcoming guest posts. The basic policy is to welcome guest option articles.
As a trained journalist I see news reporting a little differently and am more weary of opening that up to others. Simple news in brief articles or covering upcoming events etc is a possibility but even with that my journalism training tells to tread carefully.
On option articles, IrishCycle.com welcomes a diverse set of opinions. That, however, does not extend to misinformation or cycling bashing.
In advance of setting up a page about guest post, anybody can contact me at any time.
Subscription drive update: IrishCycle.com reached its target of 270 subscribers by the end of August -- thank you to all who have helped! Our new target is to have 300 subscribers by the end of 2022 -- originally this was hoped to be exceeded by the first year of running the site full time (end of October).
If you can help push IrishCycle.com above 300 subscribers, please subscribe today for €5 or more. If you have already done so -- thank you!
Please remember, every month there's a natural drop-off in subscriptions due to people getting new cards, cards stolen, Revolut not topped up etc.
IrishCycle.com is a reader-funded journalism publication. Effectively it's an online newspaper covering news and analyses of cycling and related issues, including cycle route designs, legal changes, and pollical and cultural issues.
There are examples, big and small, which show that the reader-funded or listener-funding model can work to support journalism -- from the Dublin Inquirer and The Guardian to many podcasts. To make it work for IrishCycle.com, it just needs enough people like you to believe!
Monthly subscriptions will give IrishCycle.com's journalism a dependable base of support. But please don't take free access for granted. Last year IrishCycle.com had an average of 15,800 readers per month and we know our readers include people who cycle and those who don't, politicians, officials and campaigners.
I know only a small percentage of readers will see the value of keeping this open enough to subscribe, that's the reality of the reader-funded model. But more support is needed to keep this show on the road.
The funding drive was started in November 2021 and, as of the start of June 2022, 250 readers have kindly become monthly subscribers -- thank you very much to all that have!
But currently, it's only around 1.6% of readers who subscribe. So, if you can, please join them and subscribe today via ko-fi.com/irishcycle/tiers