Spot Us: community funded reporting

My fellow Propeller Scout, David Cohn, founded something awesome that I think everyone should check out. It’s a project called Spot Us:

Spot.Us is a nonprofit project of the Center for Media Change. We are an open source project, to pioneer “community funded reporting.” Through Spot.Us the public can commission journalists to do investigations on important and perhaps overlooked stories. All donations are tax deductible and if a news organization buys exclusive rights to the content, your donation will be reimbursed. Otherwise, all content is made available to all through a Creative Commons license. It’s a marketplace where independent reporters, community members and news organizations can come together and collaborate.

Ever since I started my first lame Where’s My Burrito? website and weblog, I’ve been excited by the potential we have in the 21st century to use the immediacy and ubiquity of the internets to deliver a serious challenge to the status quo. I can’t wait to see what happens with Spot Us and the people it inspires over the coming months.

8 thoughts on “Spot Us: community funded reporting”

  1. It’s certainly an interesting concept, though at this point the only incentive, really, is the glory of journalism and the possibility of becoming briefly tweetworthy or something.
    In contrast, I was listening to the radio on the way home today about efforts focused in the developing world where micro-work (micro-journalism included) was offered out to regular folks in the middle of Africa. They tend to use mobiles, since land-lines are scarce. The organizers *pay them in airtime* because it’s a cross-border currency and it does real work for the recipient, even if the cost of bread escalated 900% that day.
    My rambling point is that Western folk join these sort of benevolent Borg collectives for altruism or fun — I think *real traction* comes in the developing world, where people come together because they *need to*.
    Cheeseburger Brown

  2. MacFarlane: In one episode, Stewie kidnaps the cast of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” They (the original cast members) all came back, reunited to do their voices for us.

  3. It does sound cool – opening the lines of reporting. However, as someone with a college degree in Journalism, I can only hope that Spot.Us will follow the true Journalistic rules of good reporting. Ethics, truth, fairness, you know, the stuff you often see in print – but not so much from TV reporters.

  4. This will be useful, if it can be relied upon to deliver news and information without bias, or even averaging out to “without bias.” Which would be refreshing after a solid dose of the Mainstream Obamedia, which doesn’t even PRETEND to be objective anymore.
    We shall see, although, given the slant of stories presently displayed on their home page, I’m not too hopeful just yet.

  5. >This will be useful, if it can be relied upon to deliver news and information without bias, or even averaging out to “without bias.” Which would be refreshing after a solid dose of the Mainstream Obamedia, which doesn’t even PRETEND to be objective anymore.<
    You are applying Old Media rules to what is a New Media world. If you doubt the efficacy of New Media, I refer you to the recent circ numbers for newspapers and the AdAge whoop-whoop alerts about the impending implosion in local TV ad revenue.
    And no, this is not because the MSM is “in the tank” for Obama. If that were the case, the anti-Obama media would be racking up record profits. It is not. In fact, it is declining even worse. Then again, reality does have a well-recognized liberal bias.
    No, what is relevant here is the fact that the people now vote with their mouse-clicks, and the information and “bias” they prefer will win. Stories about subjects that people consider to be relevant to the way they live their lives will become more popular, and their authors will reap the rewards of that.
    As for slant, bias – whether political, or, as journalists fear, from Big Biz “astroturfing” or co-option, the cool thing about the web is that scammers, poseurs & shysters get exposed. It may take a while, but sooner or later, it happens And the reaction to the initial manipulation is a backlash that usually far outweighs the initial gain from being a scam artist.
    Have a little faith in the American people. They are not fooled all the time.
    The proof of that happened on a national scale about a week ago.

  6. Wil
    Thanks for the note. YOU ROCK!!!
    I’m hoping Spot.Us will expand into other regions soon. I think you are based in LA and that may be our next target.
    But first: The SF Bay Area.
    I strongly believe that journalism needs to stay strong to support our local democracies – and that’s the goal. With the public’s help – I think journalism could become even stronger than it was in its golden years.
    David Cohn

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