We retain our commitment to transparency as a community-funded model that answers to you, our readers.
During the financial year ended 31 December 2021, a year marked by the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic and continued uncertainty, the Shift’s total income was €111,365 (an increase of just over €5,000 from the previous year).
We continued to invest in our people, as well as in our IT resources and journalists’ security, but given the continued uncertainty due to the pandemic, we drastically cut back on less essential administrative costs.
Administrative expenses were almost halved, dropping from €80,847 in 2020 to €49,405 in 2021.
One of those non-essential costs was the office rent, and during 2020-2021 The Shift followed many employers with a move to fully “working from home” (and the editor’s living room).
Every staff member agreed to a pay cut to ensure The Shift could live beyond Covid. We really did our best to keep expenses to a minimum to ensure the project would survive the pandemic.
And we did.
These cost-cutting efforts helped The Shift achieve yet another near-breakeven position, with a small but manageable loss of €8,572 for the year, but placing The Shift in a position to be able to grow in 2022 and beyond.
In the last quarter of the year, we launched our Corporate Democratic Responsibility programme (it’s CSR under a more appropriate name for our sector). We choose the companies to approach. We understand that not every company in Malta is corrupt – family businesses have been built over decades of hard work and effort.
These companies are facing challenges to keep their businesses alive in an environment that rewards those close to the party in government – it’s not about competence or experience; it’s about how strongly you favour the governing Labour Party. This is not a level playing field, and our articles on the abuse of public procurement policies prove this over and over again.
The amount received from these companies is minimal – we are not about compromising our stand. No one influences our work except you, our readers. We never lose sight of the fact that we have a duty to the public interest, that we answer to you and nobody else.
This information is based on our most recent audited financial statements (2021) and will be updated each year. Our financial information for the previous year (2020) is available here.
This chart speaks for itself.
The Shift’s income can be split up as follows (figures are rounded):
39% – (€43,974) from our loyal readers – 1,850 individual readers, to be exact. Of these, 1% donated between €101 and €500.
45% – (€49,801) from international journalism and press freedom grants.
15% – (€17,025) from advertising and our Corporate Democratic Responsibility Programme (CDR).
1% – (€565) COVID wage supplement (payable to all eligible employers to avoid redundancies due to COVID).
We are proud that once again, 0% (€0) of our income for the year comes from the Maltese government, political parties or politicians. We don’t take their advertising (to the point where we even block their Google ads), we don’t take their opinion pieces, and we certainly don’t take their paid content and present it as news. And we aim to keep it that way.
Like all local employers, our staff received a COVID wage supplement (paid by Malta Enterprise). We do not consider this one-off scheme (where we received only €565), which is available to all local employers, to be capable of impacting our independence.
Running a newsroom is not cheap. And Covid was a devastating period. Yet we still trained new journalists while accepting severe cuts in our salaries. But we’re proud that we survived, remaining true to our principles. And that’s thanks to your support.
The Shift is owned and operated by Tula Ltd, a Maltese company wholly beneficially owned by our hard-working managing editor, Caroline Muscat, who was awarded the international Reporters Without Borders Prize for Independence. Muscat has also been awarded the prize for courage by the US embassy in Malta, while The Shift was chosen by the Financial Times’ publication Sifted as one of the European start-ups to look out for in 2021.
The Shift is the chosen media partner of Reporters Without Borders in Malta, and an organisational member of the International Press Institute.
All retained earnings by Tula Ltd are, under its articles of association, required to be invested in journalism (i.e. The Shift).