Although I’d seen it before, it was BookJotter Paula’s latest Winding Up the Week (#110) post that reminded me of The Guardian Australia’s Unmissables series. Initiated last March, Unmissables aims to highlight 12 new releases they deem “significant”.
Before I share the books highlighted to date, though, I’d like to talk about the project’s funding because, as most of you know, how quality journalism is paid for is, currently, a critical issue. The Guardian, unlike some other newspapers online, is not paywalled. Instead, it asks readers to support them financially, by either subscribing, which I do, or, “contributing”, which, in effect, means donating without tax deductibility. Clearly, though, that’s not enough to produce the breadth and depth of content that we readers like. Consequently, they also turn to “outside” sources. They have at least three models: “supported by”, “paid content/paid for by”, and ‘”advertiser content/from our advertisers funding”. Unmissables comes under the first one, and is “supported by” the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund. This method is, unlike the other two, “editorially independent”. They say:
Before funding is agreed with a client, relevant senior editors are consulted about its suitability and the editor-in-chief has the final say on whether a funding deal is accepted. A client whose branding appears on editorial content may have a role in suggesting what kind of topics are covered, but the commissioning editor is not obliged to accept ideas from the funder. The content is written and edited by Guardian and Observer journalists, or those approved by GNM [Guardian News and Media], to the same standards expected in all of our journalism. GNM will not show copy to funders for approval.
I’ve written about the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund a few times before, including in a dedicated Monday Musings post. From my observer’s point of view, it seems like this fund is doing some good things to support and promote our literary culture.
Now, though, the books …