Colombian journalist Morris looking to make "Contravia" Latin America’s first viewer-funded TV show

By Ingrid Bachmann

Award-winning Colombian journalist Hollman Morris has launched a social media campaign to keep Contravía, his investigative reporting program, on the air. He has asked viewers and his followers on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to make small donations to support the show, Semana explains.

While public media in the United States has been doing telethons and pledge drives for decades, Contravía looks to be the first viewer-funded TV program in Latin America.

According to EFE, the program has already raised $4,800 to replace funding that for the last eight years has come from various international organizations and foreign governments. Morris told EFE he wants independent journalism to be funded by the public, not such international groups.

The majority of the contributions have been small $5 donations. Morris’ Twitter followers have been posting images of their donations online (as in the image to the right) and have encouraged others to do so by using the hashtag #apoyoacontravia (Support Contravía).

Over the next two months, the campaign is looking to raise the $190,000 necessary to produce 26 episodes that will air from July to December of 2011.

The show is accepting international orders, payments through Colombian banks, and online donations. For more information about the campaign, visit this page. (If you do not read Spanish and want to donate, go here and fill out your name, e-mail, preferred currency, amount to donate, select “English,” and choose “Realizar Donación.”)

Other Related Headlines:
» Knight Center (VIDEO: Threatened Colombian journalist Morris vows to continue telling victims' stories)
» Knight Center (VIDEO: Investigative journalism in Latin America: The challenges of finding a sustainable model)

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.