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E Pluribus Unum

Andrea Seabrook is being honored as a Champion of Change for her accomplishments as a crowdfunding pioneer.

Andrea Seabrook

Andrea Seabrook is being honored as a Champion of Change for her accomplishments as a crowdfunding pioneer.

Among the most inspiring facets of the American experiment is our belief in the power of individuals, banding together for the collective good. “We, The People” power our democracy, build our communities, and choose our future. Crowdfunding is the next logical extension of that most American of values. That is why I chose to crowdfund DecodeDC, my new public radio show and podcast, using Kickstarter.

Crowdfunding is more than just a new way to start a business. It’s a way to start a movement. When you appeal directly to people, and they contribute their hard-earned money to your project, you are building an audience that is truly invested in your work, both literally and figuratively. And that, I believe, is exactly what journalism needs right now.

After years of covering politics and government, I have come to believe that Washington is broken, and the way the media covers it is partly to blame. Our institutions seem to produce the exact opposite of their intended purpose: Campaigns narrow choices. Advocacy blocks progress. Elections protect politicians. But news outlets continue to cover these things as if they were functioning well.

DecodeDC covers Washington differently. We approach the problems with stark honesty and fierce independence. We ask why politics is broken, and search for answers. We try to be the eyes and ears of our listeners, wondering about the state of our democracy. It is what I deeply believe our society needs right now, and it is what our audience and funders demand.

Crowdfunding works. My audience was generous and I raised more money than I thought was possible using crowdfunding. But I also gained much more than that—I made myself and DecodeDC directly accountable to our listeners; exactly the people a journalist should be accountable to.

Andrea Seabrook is Host and Founder of DecodeDC.