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Pry open secret America! Your dollars will support kickass journalism – the lifeblood of a free society.
David Talbot
San Francisco, California
United States
6 Team Members
This campaign is raising funds on behalf of Essential Information Inc, a verified nonprofit. The campaign does not necessarily reflect the views of the nonprofit or have any formal association with it. All contributions are considered unrestricted gifts and can't be specified for any particular purpose.

Open America is an investigative media project dedicated to a free, democratic and transparent America.

We aim to "open-source" our democracy and reveal vital information that belongs to the public. Through the web, social media, TV, radio, books and public speaking tours, our group of independent, award-winning investigative journalists will shine a spotlight on secretive government and corporate practices that are damaging peoples' lives and the environment.

Open America is inspired by the courage of whistleblowers like Bradley Manning. We will encourage others to reach out to us from behind the closed doors of power. We understand that our country has legitimate national security concerns that must be respected. But in today’s political climate, far too much information is hidden from view – not because its disclosure would threaten public safety, but because it would expose high crimes and malfeasance.

The goal is to open up the channels of information that have been tightly constricted by government and corporate officials. Without this free flow of information, our democracy will continue to shrivel.

how we're different

Open America will operate with a “Paul Revere” sense of urgency that is missing in most business-as-usual journalism. We believe that our country is facing a dire turning point in its history. American democracy is threatened less by overseas enemies than it is by the rapidly growing power of secretive government agencies and the corporate state. With our fundamental liberties at stake, Open America will sound a loud and clear warning.

Investigative journalism projects are proliferating across the country. But few of these projects take direct aim at the biggest power centers in our society, such as Wall Street and the Pentagon. And few do actual “investigative” reporting. Only journalism based on information that is classified, suppressed or otherwise hidden from public view truly qualifies as investigative.

With that in mind, Open America will adhere to standards and guidelines put forward almost 50 years ago by legendary investigative editor Robert Greene. Greene instructed his Newsday reporters that he would only regard their work as investigative if it offered information that was absolutely vital to the public (no celebrity sex scandals or petty misdemeanors) and that revealed things about powerful people and institutions that they did not want the public to know. Greene's reporters had to dig and dig deep, and come up with information that could save lives, keep children safe, stop high crimes, or expose outrageous abuses of power.


why we need you

Corporations, foundations and rich donors don’t want to fund the kind of controversial journalism that Open America will sponsor – kickass journalism that will directly confront the major centers of power in our country. That’s why we need your help.

Our goal is to raise $65,000 with this campaign. These funds will allow us to finance three investigative projects that will put essential information in the hands of the American people – information that is now hidden by Washington’s national security establishment and the energy industry. 

In return for your tax-deductible donation, you will receive a range of special acknowledgments and benefits. The entire Open America community will know that you have made a vital contribution to a free and democratic America.


first three projects

Your TAX-DEDUCTIBLE donation will help finance the research, writing and production of Open America’s first three vital investigative projects:

Drone Empire - Jefferson Morley

Under the direction of veteran Washington journalist, Jefferson Morley, we will launch an investigative blog aimed at exposing the drone-industrial complex. President Obama recently acknowledged that by sharply escalating the drone campaign, we’ve created more enemies than we’ve killed. And yet the drone lobby in Washington continues to grow. We will investigate the powerful interests that are still pushing drones as a tool of war. And we will spotlight the increasing use of surveillance drones in U.S. airspace and how local communities are fighting to control them.

Jefferson Morley is a former Washington Post reporter and editor, and the national correspondent for Salon, where he developed a special beat on the alarming expansion of drone warfare and surveillance. He is the author of “Our Man in Mexico,” a critically acclaimed book about the CIA station chief who found himself in the eye of a storm following the Kennedy assassination.


Hidden History of CIA - David Talbot

Extraordinary rendition. The kill-at-will assassination policy. Salon founder David Talbot is digging deeply into the secret history of the CIA for a new book that will reveal how many of the spy agency’s most controversial practices originated under legendary CIA director Allen Dulles. Drawing on explosive new evidence, this book-in-progress will also document how U.S. intelligence became enmeshed with notorious Nazi war criminals after World War II; how the agency built a secret assassination operation aimed at foreign leaders that was far more lethal than congressional investigators ever realized; and how Dulles brought home this dangerous operation during the Kennedy presidency.

David Talbot (Project Director) is the founder and former editor-in-chief of Salon, the pioneering web publication. He is also the author of “Brothers,” a New York Times bestselling history about the explosive conflicts in the Kennedy administration between JFK’s inner circle and the national security elite. His forthcoming book, “The Devil’s Chessboard,” will explore the hidden history of the CIA.


Secret Fracking - Mark Hertsgaard

The energy giants can’t possibly get away with fracking the greenest state in the country -- or can they? In a series of articles, Mark Hertsgaard, one of our leading environmental reporters, will follow the money trail. He will reveal how industry moles have worked their way deep inside the administration of Governor Jerry Brown, the man who inaugurated California’s green revolution 40 years ago.

Mark Hertsgaard is the author of six books, including “Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth.” As an independent journalist, he has reported from 25 countries about politics and climate change for outlets including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, NPR, the BBC, Mother Jones and The Nation, where he is environment correspondent.


These are the remaining members of the Open America editorial board:

Mark Dowie is the former investigative editor of Mother Jones magazine, where he won awards for such major exposes as “Pinto Madness,” on the exploding car that Ford Motor Co. continued to market despite the fiery accidents that took hundreds of lives. He is the author of “Losing Ground: American Environmentalism at the Close of the 20th Century.” He was on the faculty of the UC-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where he taught science and environmental reporting. 

Deirdre English is the Director of the Felker Magazine Center at the UC-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. With her students, she edits and publishes Brink magazine, a print and online publication that has twice won the national First Place in the Mark of Excellence awards held by the Society of Professional Journalists. She is an author, and the former editor-in-chief of Mother Jones magazine.

Evelyn Nieves is a veteran journalist who has written about America’s poor and other undercovered communities for more than 25 years. She has worked as a national bureau chief for the New York Times, a national correspondent for the Washington Post and an Associated Press reporter, filing stories from rural Appalachia to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to a homeless encampment in the Mojave Desert. Her most recent article – for Salon and Alternet – chronicled the epidemic of pill abuse among West Virginia’s poorest communities.



Thank you for press inquiries! For more information, contact David Talbot at david@talbotplayers.com




Find This Campaign On
raised by 99 people in 2 months
12% funded
No time left
Verified Nonprofit
$65,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on August 5, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $20USD

    All donations are greatly appreciated, big or small. And they're tax-deductible! Project Director David Talbot will also give you a loud shout-out on his Facebook page.

    12 claimed
  • $50USD
    Confidential Source

    Get a sneak-peak at the very first Open America exposé before it's published -- and David Talbot will also give you a standing ovation.

    13 claimed
  • $100USD
    Citizen Journalist

    You'll receive one of the following politically charged books by an Open America editor: Mark Hertsgaard's "Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth," Jefferson Morley's "Snowfall in August," or David Talbot's "Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years."

    19 claimed
  • $250USD

    Let your freak flag fly! You'll receive a limited-edition T-shirt featuring the "Open America" star-spangled logo, designed by a hot, new San Francisco underground artist.

    2 claimed
  • $500USD

    Want to be part of the team? Submit your own idea for an Open America investigative project, and if it's selected, you'll receive prominent credit. You'll also receive two backstage passes to the first Open America public event and the T-shirt listed above.

    1 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    Media Crusader

    Enjoy a freewheeling Skype chat with the Open America editor of your choice. You'll also get a signed copy of David Talbot's pulp-history thriller, "Devil Dog," two backstage passes, and yes, the aforementioned T-shirt.

    1 claimed
  • $2,500USD
    Front-page Hero

    One of our acclaimed Open America journalists will interview and profile you on our web site, focusing on your favorite causes and accomplishments. We'll also include a photo of you wearing your beloved Open America T-shirt.

    0 claimed
  • $3,500USD
    Top Watchdog

    Looking for a silver-tongued orator at your next public event? An award-winning Open America author will deliver your keynote speech and will participate in ensuing brainstorming sessions. (Your event must be in California or Washington, DC.)

    0 claimed
  • $5,000USD
    21st Century Upton Sinclair

    Meet the free press. You'll be the guest of honor at an Open America dinner party at a fabulous restaurant in San Francisco. Not only will you receive every other perk listed above (except the "Front-page Hero" benefit), but you'll also get to pick the brains of your favorite muckrakers for hours on end. (Travel expenses not included.)

    0 claimed
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