How much pizza can you buy for $7,819? This is the dilemma a man behind an inspired fundraiser now faces. Retired journalist Kevin Austin started a GoFundMe campaign to reward journalists at the New York Times and the Washington Post for all the work they've put in during the first month of Donald Trump's presidency. Why? Well, when you're a journalist, nothing says thank you quite like a slice of piping hot pizza.
"The newsrooms of the New York Times and the Washington Post have produced extraordinary work during the first weeks of the Trump administration," Austin, the creator of the Pizza for the Newsroom campaign, wrote on the fundraiser's official GoFundMe page. "I bet they're tired. And hungry."
As Austin points out, it's been a rough road for many of the journalists covering President Trump. In the first few weeks of his presidency, Trump has repeatedly attempted to delegitimize the country's national media by labelling articles he sees as critical of him or his administration as "fake news." In a lengthy press conference held at the White House on Thursday, the president repeatedly reprimanded journalists, calling them "dishonest people." Trump took his war on the nation's news media to a whole new level Friday, when he tweeted the New York Times, NBC News, ABC News, CBS News, and CNN were "the enemy of the American people."
"My goal is to show the Post and the Times that I appreciate what they've been doing the last few weeks, because they're performing a historic service for all of us," Austin wrote. While Austin's initial goal was to raise $2,000 to pay for a few dozen pies to be delivered to both the New York Times and the Washington Post offices he quickly surpassed that, raising $7,819 over the course of just two days.
Although the Pizza for the Newsroom campaign was initially centered on just New York Times and Washington Post reporters, Austin stressed there were many other journalists who deserved recognition. "They are not the only hard-working, courageous journalists in the country," Austin said of reporters employed at the New York Times and the Washington Post. "Thousands work every day under extremely difficult circumstances, at small-town weeklies and big-city dailies. There are awards and paychecks and recognition, but many times those forms of compensation fail to match the level of dedication and sacrifice that goes into the work."
According to Austin, the idea to launch a fundraiser aimed at raising enough dough (see what I did there?) to reward journalists working at news outlets repeatedly berated by President Trump was an impulsive one. "[It was] an idea that came to me in the shower," Austin admitted on the campaign's GoFundMe page.
Due to the massive success of the Pizza for the Newsroom campaign, Austin is currently taking suggestions for additional newsrooms to feed from donors. "Let's feed as many hardworking journalists as possible!" he wrote in a recent update to the now-closed fundraiser.