After 12 episodes and over 1 million views online, investigative journalist Ben Swann’s Truth In Media Project will start its second season this week. Swann left network news in 2013 to pursue stories that had gone unreported by traditional news outlets. The independent journalist has accrued a following in the hundreds of thousands on social media and qualified as a finalist for the 2014 Shorty Award for best journalist on social media.
In its first season, the Truth in Media Project covered issues like the militarization of domestic police, the constitutionality of the Federal Reserve Bank, and the legality of NSA free speech copyright claims. To finance the next series of episodes, Swann has turned to social media and grassroots organizing online. To date, over 700 people have pledged to support the Indiegogo campaign’s launch. The campaign’s goal is set to raise $100,000 to support the Truth in Media Project.Truth in Media would be the 1st grassroots investigative journalism project to be on Hulu, Amazon Prime.
Season 2 includes plans for 10 episodes that will take Swann across the country for on-location reporting and interviews. The project is also planning to air on Hulu and Amazon Prime, making it the first grassroots investigative journalism project on those platforms. Hulu and Amazon Prime are home to a combined audience of more than 14 million paying subscribers.
It has taken little over a year for the award-winning journalist to thrive on social media. Through platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, season 2 of the Truth in Media Project will have to navigate new territory for independent journalism. In the past, journalists have relied on large networks like CNN to carry their stories and establish their credentials with the press.
Yet, the Truth in Media Project has established itself in a new age for independent journalism while distrust in traditional media is still near a record high — about 55 percent. By covering tough issues rather than relying on entertainment-journalism to inform viewers, Swann’s project may be around for more seasons to come.