Mark Saxenmeyer is the creator and Executive Director of The Reporters Inc. He’s also serving as executive producer of our upcoming documentary about wrongful convictions, “The Innocent Convicts.” You can read more about him on our “Team” page.

Crowdfunding “The Innocent Convicts”

Your Invitation to Become Part of Our Team


September 2015

BY MARK SAXENMEYER

We’re starting our third week of crowdfunding for The Innocent Convicts, The Reporters Inc.’s new documentary about wrongful convictions. If you haven’t checked out our campaign on IndieGoGo yet, I encourage you to do so! The link is http://igg.me/at/the-innocent-convicts.

The documentary profiles the lives of innocent people still in prison, those fighting for their freedom, and people who’ve finally been exonerated after years of legal battles.

We’ve raised nearly $5,300, thanks to more than 70 generous backers! We still have a ways to go to meet our goal so we’re hopeful you’ll accept our invitation to become part of the team! I say “team” because that’s what crowdfunding is all about–creating a movement of supporters who get behind a cause, a subject, a plan or an idea and make it happen!

So why is this project important? And why should it be important to you? Consider these facts, based on studies and research by groups like The Innocence Project and the National Registry of Exonerations:

*As many as one out of every ten prisoners behind bars has been wrongfully convicted.

*The average amount of time a wrongfully convicted person spends in prison is 13.5 years.

*52 percent of wrongful conviction cases involved perjury or false accusations.

*43 percent of wrongful convictions involved official misconduct.

*41 percent of wrongful convictions involved mistaken eyewitness identification.

*24 U.S. states provide no compensation for those exonerated from a wrongful incarceration.

*57 percent of all exonerees have been black.

It’s an important issue, but if you’re still not moved, hopefully you’re a supporter of nonprofit journalism and independent film. And remember because The Reporters Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
Our EIN Number is 05-0613976

If you’re concerned about how the finished film will be seen, already, PBS stations in 11 states (including Illinois, California, Texas and Minnesota) have provided The Reporters Inc. with Letters of Support/Interest/intent to Air the documentary. As a result, we’re virtually guaranteed national distribution.

Although we’ve already started production (you can watch trailers on our IndieGoGo Page), we need funding to continue shooting, and complete the film per PBS standards and guidelines.

To incentivize you, we’re also offering “perks” –everything from digital downloads and DVDs of the completed film, mugs and T-shirts emblazoned with The Innocent Convicts logo, your name and photo in the credits of the documentary, VIP dinners/premiere parties and Q&As with exonerated inmates and their families who are featured in the film, behind-the-scenes shoots with The Reporters Inc., and much more.

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If you missed Mark Saxenmeyer’s article about the wrongful conviction of a 10-year-old Chicago boy, falsely accused of a brutal murder he did not commit, read it here.

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If you’d like to see the full project proposal, our reporting plan, need further information or have questions, please email us at info@thereporters.org or call 612-333-3180. We want your input, your ideas, and your feedback, as well as your support.

Finally, please help us spread the word about the project–through social media email, e-newsletters, carrier pigeons, etc. The project gets shared one message at a time, person by person.

We created The Reporters Inc. to explore the subjects that other media was either ignoring, avoiding, overlooking, misrepresenting or under-representing in their coverage. We created it to tell stories in a substantive, meaningful, compelling and in-depth fashion — stories that hopefully make a difference and evoke needed change in the world. We truly believe this documentary will do just that.

One final time: our IndieGoGo page can be found at http://igg.me/at/the-innocent-convicts

Our 30-day campaign runs through Thursday October 8th!

On behalf of all the innocent men and women behind bars, still waiting for justice, we thank you.

Mark Saxenmeyer can be reached at info@thereporters.org

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