Guardian Australia has hit its goal of 150,000 financial supporters

• Guardian Australian associate editor Lucy Clark comments

When Guardian Australia launched its membership program this time four years ago we started with 1,500 supporters. This week we’ve hit 150,000 supporters – a neat symmetry of numbers, with some added zeroes, writes Guardian Australian associate editor Lucy Clark.

Setting this goal was driven by the belief that a plurality of voices in the media landscape – and getting the highest quality independent journalism into the hands of many – is good for democracy and good for public discourse.

We keep saying this, but the challenges to journalism from many quarters are unrelenting – perpetual job losses, disappearing newsrooms, the undermining of the business model, the loss of regional news coverage, cuts to the public broadcaster. More than ever, public interest journalism needs to be strong and it needs to be supported – and in the case of Guardian Australia, reader support is part of our strength. It safeguards our future.

Now we are embarking on more vital projects – a deep dive into how young Australians will cope with unprecedented unemployment rates, an investigation into how it is that so many Indigenous children are in jail, and how the disruptions of 2020 can give rise to an environmentally friendly recovery. As always, we’ll continue to give voice to the voiceless, and hold power to account.

Your support is not only financial. The messages we receive about why you choose to pay for our journalism when you don’t have to, and why our journalism is important to you, are motivating. My greatest privilege as membership editor is being in this two-way conversation, and knowing you feel part of our community. During this difficult year the newsroom has found inspiration – and great comfort – in your words of encouragement.

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