A Living Hell In Paradise: Feature by Gemma Clarke

This is a new trial payment model from New Matilda,  and the first time we're testing it.

We're trying to fundraise to cover the costs of individual major feature stories for freelance writers. Based on general traffic to New Matilda, if everyone who reads the feature kicks in just $1, it would cover the cost of the reporting, and finance multiple other trips.

About the journalist

Gemma Clarke is an Australian journalist, and the founding editor and creator of Global Hobo . She is also an occasional feature writer for New Matilda. She's a born and bred Queensland, with a keen interest in travel, social justice, the arts and the environment. 


Gemma recently travelled to Greece, and filed a major feature story for New Matilda on asylum seekers in the Vial refugee camp. You can read the feature here: https://newmatilda.com/2019/10/15/a-living-hell-in-a-piece-of-paradise-life-inside-the-vial-refugee-camp/ 

About this fundraiser

Obviously this sort of journalism is neither easy to write, nor cheap to produce. Gemma's costs associated with this feature story were:

$1552 - Flights/Ferries (Corfu to Chios and Chios to Australia)
$129 - Accommodation
$139 - Car Rental
$130 - Translation fees ("Leena", who is quoted in the story, was paid $130 to translate from Farsi to English)

In other words, Gemma did it on the cheap. The total cost is $1950.

New Matilda has paid $369 for the non-exclusive rights to publish this story. That was made up of $300 for the story, and then we added a 23% gender loading (New Matilda pays female writers 23 per cent more than male writers, to acknowledge the 23 per cent gender pay gap in Australia journalism).

New Matilda and Gemma have agreed to split 50-50 whatever is raised beyond $1950, after costs (GoFundMe fees, GST and credit card fees, which amounts to about 20 percent of what is raised).

So for example, if $3,000 is raised, Gemma receives $1950 plus half of what is left after costs (of about $600) - i.e. Gemma would receive in total about $2544 ($1950 to cover her costs; about $225, or half of what is left after costs from the $3,000; plus the original $369 payment from New Matilda). In other words, after costs Gemma will actually make about $594 for writing the story (which took days, not including the travel and research) and that's before tax. All up not a lucrative career, but then journos mostly don't do it for the money these days. 

This is a new model for funding journalism. $3000 is no small goal, but obviously reporting from difficult and remote international locations is not cheap, and definitely not easy.

This funding method is a trial - We're not planning to do this for every story, only for major features. Our hope is it can empower more Australian journalists to at least cover the costs of their writing, with a little bit left over to live. Gemma Clarke (and other NM writers) will do this sort reporting regardless of whether or not you help fund it, but if enough readers chip in, the lifting is a hell of a lot easier.

More broadly, we're also interested in hearing from other writers with 'pitches' for major feature stories. We'll try and fund raise for those as well. You can email us here: [email redacted] 

About New Matilda

NM is one of Australia's most respected independent publications. It's also one of the nation's oldest online publications, having been launched in 2004 (we turned 15 last month!).

New Matilda runs, almost literally, on the sniff of an oily rag. It's best known for breaking major investigations, and being (unsuccessfully) sued by people exposed in those investigations. You can read more about NM here .


  • Clair Siva 
    • $5 
    • 5 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $5 
    • 13 mos


Chris Graham 
Dunwich, AU
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