Dear Friends of Byline,

It is now one month since we launched our Heath Robinson-esque first version of Byline, so we thought we’d drop you a line and tell you how we’ve been getting on.

There have been some real ups and downs so far. We are still in our ‘beta’ testing stage, and that is reflected in the fact that we have a gigantic list of things we need to add, change, or fix on our website. Disconcertingly, that list only ever seems to get longer!

Most of the big problems are now resolved though. We’ve also had a bit of a redesign on the front page, and are gradually rolling out our mobile site too. You no longer need a microscope to read Byline articles on your phone, or to check out the smouldering, youthful virility of this Bullingdon-era David Cameron (a Byline scoop in conjunction with Versa).

In the past month, we’ve had over 50,000 unique visitors. To put this into context, Barbie has a circulation of 45,000 copies per month in the UK. We are therefore slightly more popular than a magazine dedicated to a plastic doll – though admittedly, you do have to pay for the privilege of reading about her, whereas articles on Byline will always be open access. (The Peppa Pig magazine does 69,000 copies, and judging by our latest traffic, one month from now we’ll be celebrating passing that number over a few bacon sandwiches.)

Byline readers do have their own Barbie and Ken now, in the form of Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson

Byline readers do have their own Barbie and Ken now, in the form of Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson. Lawyers representing the former threatened us following Graham Johnson’s characteristically frank comments about her here. We chickened out a bit and removed part of a quote that may have, as one wag on Twitter put it, enabled Ms. Brooks to “sue for definition of character”. We now have the following instead:

Byline: How much did the people at News International know about phone hacking?

Graham Johnson: I don’t know about Rupert Murdoch, because I’ve never met him. He’s an elusive figure. But I do know Rebekah Brooks. I think she’s a bully and a bullshitter.

Private Eye somehow picked up the gauntlet and just reprinted the whole thing in its original form, making the Dark Side’s victory over us a Pyrrhic one. And later in the week, James Doleman’s planned coverage of the Coulson perjury trial netted over £2,000 in just 24 hours. Now, the project is 114% funded.

We didn’t originally plan on going up to the school bully and poking him in the eye, but having done so, we’re relieved and delighted that he hasn’t stomped us into the ground and taken our lunch money (well, not yet). But let’s see what happens when James starts reporting! The Coulson trial looks set to be chock full of new revelations, and we can promise that the detail you’ll get about it on Byline will be absolutely unrivalled.

Following the Coulson trial, we’ll be bringing you something even bigger – a major new exposé of the British press that you will not want to miss. So please stay tuned…

Anyway: a huge thank you to all of you who signed up to Byline and pledged to our journalists. 

Before we sign off though, we would just like to remind you about Julie Bindel’s project to investigate the global sex trade. A rush of funding over the weekend means she is now 76% funded – but with 9 days left, things are still touch and go. Any help would be gratefully received no doubt!

With thanks,

The Byline Team

PS. Metrography’s ‘Map of Displacement‘ project is now fully-funded, so we have issued a ‘Stretch Goal’ of an additional $2500. If they can receive this extra funding, they will visit two remote areas of Kurdistan to produce additional photo sets. 

(Brick Lane’s Beigel Bake is our team’s favourite place for lunch, hence the main photo)