February 24, 2009
We got a nice little mention in Edward Helmore’s column in the Guardian today.
Spot.Us first solicits ideas for investigative stories, then uses an approach called “crowdfunding” to send a reporter out. “We distribute the cost of hiring a journalist across a lot of different people,” says David Cohn, the 26-year-old founder of the not-for-profit firm. “Content will then be given away to local news organizations or sold for unique publishing rights to recoup the costs.”…
Opinions are divided on whether Spot.Us and its film documentary counterpart, Reelchanges, will invigorate public participation or merely undermine editorial instinct. Others worry that crowdfunding could skewer coverage to suit those with the most to spend. As a safeguard, both Spot and Reelchanges say they will ensure that no contributor gives more than 20% of a story’s cost.
Hal Plotkin, the founder of Reelchanges, notes that: “Our revenue is increasing whilst everybody else’s is decreasing for the simple reason that we’re going to our customers, asking them what they want and then asking them for a small amount to help create it. It’s not rocket science – it’s how every other business works.” But, Plotnik [sigh] says bleakly: “The media is so full of authoritarians, they would rather go out of business than share power with a community at large that could help revive their economic model.”