The Shift has ended 2019 by hitting near to a million in monthly page views, nearly doubling the traffic to the site – an increase that has steadily grown thanks to the support of our readers since it was founded two years ago.
The Shift is the only reader funded news platform in Malta and, from the start, refused to accept funding or advertising from the government or political parties to remain fully independent. During 2019, it broke exclusive investigative stories such as the Malta exports fraud on the Vitals Global Healthcare and Steward Healthcare agreement and the still ongoing White Flag saga.
The Shift carries out its own investigations as well as joining large scale cross border ones such as Grand theft Europe, where we revealed that Maltese companies were involved in a Europe-wide racket responsible for robbing European taxpayers of some €50 billion every year.
With the growth of The Shift, investigative stories are reaching a much wider audience than before. The story about how the Head of Steward Healthcare in Malta, Armin Ernst, was witnessed pitching the deal both for VGH and Steward became the most read story of the year, although it was only published during the last month of the year.
The now widely used slogan during the national protests, “What the fuck, Joe”, was picked up from another one of The Shift’s top stories of the year where it revealed that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had been made aware of Gozitan property developer Joseph Portelli’s illegalities, but dismissed it by saying “what the fuck, Joe”, claiming it to be an “invention” and that he was “offended”.
The increase of followers on The Shift’s social media channels during 2019 also led to more frequent encouraging comments of support, where readers cheered the investigations which uncovered the uncomfortable truths and acknowledging the hostile climate many investigative journalists have to work in.
In October, Danish artist Marie Louise Kold donated 21 beautiful art works delicately made out of copper in an exhibition called Words where the items were sold and all proceeds were donated to The Shift. The event had a great turnout and the evening ended with a record sale with all pieces sold.
“We’ve had an amazing evening. So many people showed up and we’ve had red dots spreading all evening,” Kold said and added that “every sale is buying us a bit more truth”, referring to the work of The Shift.
In addition to the readers’ support, The Shift received international recognition with its founder and editor Caroline Muscat winning the 2019 Press Freedom Award for Independence by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) for her work against corruption with The Shift News.
“We don’t need to be heroes. The fact that some of us are being recognised as such says more about the countries we work in than it does about us. We are all made more vulnerable when justice is out of reach and impunity strengthens the hand of the corrupt,” Muscat said and dedicated her award to assassinated Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Every time one of The Shift’s investigation results in a magisterial inquiry, court case, or widespread discussion in Malta, our readers’ support have played a big part. We depend on our readers to help sustain our mission and you can donate by going to our Donation page on the website.
The Shift team is looking forward to another year of growth and wish to express how grateful we are for all the support by our readers, with your help we will continue to connect the dots.