2022 Transparency Report

A Note From Passage

In February, Passage will celebrate our third birthday. Since launching, we’ve published hundreds of articles, newsletters and courses, many of which wouldn’t have run in any mainstream publications. That’s something we’re proud of, and it’s only been possible thanks to the generosity of our members, who provide 100 per cent of our funding. Thank you for supporting us.

In 2022, Passage was forced to adjust our plans for expansion after it became financially unfeasible for us to continue paying two staff writers. Despite this set back, we currently have more active members than at this time last year, have broadened our newsletter offerings and have just managed to hit net positive revenue. There’s much more that stands to be done next year. 

This Transparency Report documents the work done to date, and includes details on our revenue, costs and output this year. As a 100 per cent reader-funded organization, we believe it’s important to share this information with you, and to be frank about our successes and shortcomings.

If you haven’t become a Passage member yet, we hope you’ll consider supporting us after reading this report so that we can continue to grow, and better fulfill our mission of producing the highest quality left opinion and analysis in Canada.

Thank you,

The Passage Team

Revenue

Passage is a non-profit funded exclusively by readers like you, which means all revenue is re-invested to grow the publication.

Passage’s revenue throughout the year has come from readers signing up as members, and to a much lesser degree, donations. Readers are able to donate as much as they want, and/or sign up as either Basic ($7 monthly/$60 annually) or Extra ($125 annually) members. 

The amount of revenue each month has varied throughout the year, with new members joining and some cancelling. As of November 30, the last day included in this report, we had 1,578 active paying readers at a variety of membership levels (+208 members from before last year’s December membership drive), as well as having received $348 in donations (-$349 from last year).

Fundraising Campaigns

Our December 2021 end of year fundraising campaign had a goal of bringing on at least 200 new members. We promised to: publish a guide to media criticism (50 members); increase writer pay by 20 per cent (100 members); produce two new courses and a deep-dive series (200 members); launch a podcast (400 members). The campaign ended up bringing on 150 new members. As a result, we were able to commission the e-book and increase pay for writers. 

Our current fundraising campaign was launched on December 7 and will end on December 31. We have a goal of bringing on at least 150 new members, and have promised to produce new critical profiles of journalists, resource guides and debate series if we can do so. We will provide updates on this fundraiser and how we met the goals in our next annual report. 

How We Spend Your Money Each Month

We’ve spent a different amount of money each month, in a variety of ways throughout the year, including on newsletters, articles and other projects. It’s difficult to find a single month that can accurately represent our spending patterns. As such, recency is probably the best approach, so here’s an average of how we spent your money in the past three months.

Audience Numbers

Between Dec. 1, 2021, and November 30, we published 102 articles, including eight in-depth resource guides. We also published more than 190 Digest newsletter editions, seven Roundup newsletter editions, 53 Class Struggle newsletter editions and 10 Dissected newsletter editions.  

Taken together, our website brought in more than 493,000 unique page views during this period. This was a significant decline from 2021, due in large part to a reduced number of articles published (with a greater emphasis being placed on newsletters as well as more in-depth features). However, our articles averaged more unique page views this year than both of the last two, which is a good sign that our work remains of interest.

The top five new articles by unique page views were the following:

  1. Invoking The Emergencies Act Is A Dangerous Mistake” by Nora Loreto, published on February 14.
  1. I Watched An 857-Hour Movie To Encounter Capitalism’s Extremes” by Ashley Darrow, published on August 10.
  1. Hypocrisy Aside, Bell’s ‘Let’s Talk’ Campaign Is Deeply Harmful” by Scott Martin, published on January 24.
  1. I’m Supposed To Feel Sorry For Landlords? I Don’t!” by Davide Mastracci, published on May 6.
  1. Canada’s Deputy PM Posed With A Ukrainian Fascist Symbol” by Davide Mastracci, published on March 1.

Things We’re Especially Proud Of

One of the reasons we launched Passage was to provide an outlet for the sort of views you won’t find in corporate media. We’ve felt happy with the progress we’ve made on this front, so here are a few articles in particular we think are representative of what we’ve done:

We’re also proud of our new newsletter this year, Digest by Davide Mastracci, which has offered members a daily collection of curated articles, videos and podcasts. This has served as an effective way to communicate with members, as well as to offer them something unique that doesn’t take away from our mission to ensure our articles are always available for free, without ads or paywalls.  

Finally, we’re also happy to note that our work has been translated by other people into several languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Greek, German and Arabic. This is a sign our work is of interest to audiences across the world, including in the Global South.

Diversity

Passage now has one editorial staffer, a white, cis man, and one part-time marketer, a racialized, cis man.

We can provide you with a rough and broad estimate of the demographics of our freelance writers throughout the year. We didn’t ask our writers to provide this info, but we were able to put an estimate together. In order to protect the privacy of our relatively low number of writers, and considering we haven’t actually surveyed any of them, we will keep the demographic stats very general. We recognize that this makes the data less useful, but it’s necessary at this point. 

From December 2021 to November 30, 71 per cent of our writers were white (+4 percentage points from last year), compared to 69 per cent of all Canadians, according to the most recent StatsCan census. This means that racialized and Indigenous people were underrepresented among Passage writers this year relative to the general Canadian population, and also to past years.

From December 2021 to November 30, 58 per cent of our writers were cis men (-4 percentage points from last year). This means we know that women are underrepresented as writers at our publication. Trans and/or non-binary writers, meanwhile, made up about 3 per cent of our writers, compared to 0.3 per cent of the population in Canada.

Corrections

We edit and fact check every article, newsletter, and email course before publication. Regardless, we have made errors throughout this year. 

When we realize we’ve made an error, often because readers like you bring them to our attention, we update the relevant article to correct it as quickly as possible, and then insert a correction notice at the bottom of the article explaining what we did, for full transparency. Here’s a list of corrections for all errors of which we’ve been made aware. 

Article: A Zionist Group Has Sponsored ‘Israel’ Trips For 49+ Serving MPs (May 17)

Correction: “This article has been updated to remove a duplicate entry in the table, and correct the stats mentioned throughout the article accordingly (50 to 49 MPs, 25 Conservative MPs to 24 Conservative MPs, $510,000 total to $504,000 total). Passage regrets this error.”

Article: Find Out If Your MP Is A Landlord Or Invested In Real Estate (September 20)

Correction: “This article was updated on September 23 to note that the extracts from Elizabeth May’s disclosure relate to her spouse/common-law partner. Passage regrets the error.”

Article: Nearly 40% Of MPs Are Invested In Real Estate During Housing Crisis (September 21)

Correction: “This article was updated on September 23 to clarify that some extracts from the disclosures of MPs relate to their spouse/common-law partner. Passage regrets the errors.”

Goals

In our 2021 report, we set the following two goals for 2022: to raise our freelance rates to $130/$325 as well as to meet and exceed financial sustainability. 

We were able to increase pay for freelance writers to the desired amount at the start of the year, and have kept up those rates throughout. We have yet to meet true financial sustainability. Early in the year, we had to lay off two of our staff writers due to our revenue levels being unable to support them. Since then, we’ve steadily worked toward breaking even, and we recently hit net positive revenue for the first time this year.

We have several goals for 2023. First, we want to reach true financial sustainability in order to ensure our existence as a publication in the long term. Second, we want to work on engaging Passage members and further building a sense of community with and between them. We have some great ideas on how to do so, which we’ll share in the new year. Third, we want to dig deeper into some of the issues we cover, including by doing some original reporting. And finally, we want to further collaborate with and support other leftist publications in Canada. 

In next year’s report, we will let you know what progress we made in 2023 on these goals. Please consider becoming a member now to support Passage!

If you’d like to send us any feedback, please email us at hello@readpassage.com with “Transparency Report” in the subject line.