Over the past year, Facebook has made it clear that it does not support independent media like Photography is Not a Crime, cutting access to our followers by more than half, which has significantly eaten into our income.
It's all part of their overall strategy to keep the government happy that has resulted in the shutdown of a multitude of other Facebook pages that question the government. Facebook says those pages were "violating community standards" but those standards are never fully explained, so we figure it probably won't be long before it happens to us.
That is why we need your help.
We need to move more than 300,000 followers from our Facebook page to the Maven, which is the platform that is hosting PINAC News, a feat that will likely be impossible considering Facebook will never allow us to reach our full readership unless we pay them thousands of dollars, which we can't afford.
What is the Maven?
The Maven is a growing coalition of independent news sites that cover a wide range of topics and niches, including the very pro-police Blue Lives Matter and the very pro-pot The Weed Blog. Last year, the Maven acquired Say Media and HubPages, which are similar platforms.
We signed onto them last year and have no regrets. It makes sense to create a coalition of independent news sites in order to compete with the corporate conglomerates.
I even met the founder of Blue Lives Matter during a Maven conference in Canada last year. He's a cop from a small town in Washington. We had a good talk. I think I left him with a new perspective.
And I met a ton of other publishers from all over the world, people with huge followings who have been dedicated to their sites for years as we have been here. It was a very authentic experience and I appreciate what the Maven is doing by bringing us all in under one advertising platform but allowing us to maintain complete editorial independence.
The Maven's goal is to create an advertising platform that would compete with Google and Facebook, which are dominating the advertising industry, resulting in major news sites losing revenue and laying people off.
Those sites, many which were funded by investors, were anticipating selling their own ads which is what publications have been doing for decades but advertisers now are using Google or Facebook because they have a much larger reach.
If those sites are unable to survive despite being backed by investors, PINAC News will never stand a chance.
What can you do to help?
The first thing you can do to help is sign up to the Maven and begin commenting on the stories, which will create an online community. At the moment, there is not a lot of activity on the site because most of our readers are congregating on Facebook.
We also need volunteers to moderate the five "rooms" on the site, which are different sections, including War on Photography, Cops Gone Rogue, Cops in Cuffs, Eye on Government and Citizen Journalism.
The way it works is that every story we publish ends up in the room that best pertains to it, which are listed across the top of the site as you can see in the screenshot below. And each room is a community where readers post comments, links, videos and photos that pertain to subject. The rooms are also a good way to submit news tips to us.
Those comments end up on the far-right column "community as you can see in the screenshot below where they share the front page with our news articles.
So in that regard, you will be like PINAC News correspondents which is why this article was posted in the Citizen Journalism room.
The moderators would be expected to generate conversations and post articles and videos and ensure the conversation remains civil and focused.
We anticipate a busy summer because that's peak season for police abuse so please only apply to be a moderator if you have the time to do so.
If you are interested, send me an email with the subject heading "PINAC Moderator" and tell me how long you have been reading the site and how did you come across it.
And please help us with a donation if you can afford it as these have been very lean times for our writers thanks to Facebook.
A donation would also help us run an ad on Journalism Jobs for some summer interns whom we plan to train and develop into future PINAC News writers. It costs $100 to run the ad but it will pay off.