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 One thing I have learned from journalism: Mistakes happen.

Humans (acting in our capacity as journalists) hear something wrong. Or we read a document that’s missing context. Or, well, pick a reason, any reason, and it’s clear why a story might end up as inaccurate.

But there is a protocol for a mistake. We find out what we did wrong and correct the story. Because the thing is we want every story to be perfect, to accurately reflect a greater truth.

And now the mistake. (You knew this was coming right?)

We have to correct a business error. A costly one at that. We work with a company called the Maven that produces our platform (what was formerly known as a “web site.”) A few months ago we started working on the technical capability to raise money through our platform. We wanted a button that makes it easy for readers to contribute to our enterprise.

The Maven has been collecting donations from our readers from the past month. Except one thing. Nothing ever happened. People filled out the forms, included their payment information, and then nothing. The data was never recorded.

Our readers’ contributions vanished. There was a missing link in the code so none of the donations were accepted, charged, or memberships credited.

We only learned about this because we kept asking, how many donors signed up in December? The answer was none.

We knew this was impossible. People we know told us that they had contributed. So over the weekend I did my own reporting: I filled out the form, entered my digits, and still nothing.

We have a problem. I know that readers care about Indian Country Today and are willing to donate funds to help us carry out our mission. So to have an error like this -- well I have no words. Except thank you and please try again (if you are so inclined.)

Here is a link that we know will work (offsite).

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We will keep working with our partners at the Maven to create a better system. But we know that today it’s the end of the year -- so we wanted to let you know what was occuring. -- in case you wanted to donate again. (A huge ask, we know.)

Our goal still is to create a mechanism for multiple levels for contributions.

Ideally we want folks to be able to say, “damn, that was a good story … here’s $5.”

And we want a way for people to invest in our nonprofit organization with a membership.

Our levels of suggested support:

Members: $100 or $10 a month.

Legacy member: $1,000 or $100 a month.

The Phoenix Circle: $5,000 or more.

Thank you for any contribution. Our pages will always be free for our readers — so all support is a voluntary act.

We are sorry for the error in the donation process -- and we will make sure that it does not happen again.

Happy New Year. 

Mark Trahant

Editor, Indian Country Today