community funded journalism community funded journalism


People are trying to find new ways to fund reporting, particularly investigative reporting. offers means by which people in the community can fund reporting via small donations.

Citizens provide tips; then journalists pitch stories to us, and hopefully get funded.

I'm personally interested in Solar power: When will it be affordable for Bay Area homeowners?

That's much like and micro-finance like Kiva.

The idea of combining small donors for big purposes isn't new, but it couldn't scale really big until the Net was available. More to come…




now, why am I not surprised you'd endorse this sort of thing? (it should be illegal as it is an abuse of the non-profit designation for financial gain) D.


P.S. the comment above was regarding spot.on (not the other projects talked about in the entry)D.

David Cohn

To the comment above:
I understand your concern and want to address it.
You'll be happy to know that does not and never will cut a check to a news organization. That would be corporate subsidy. Instead – all pitches on are from independent freelancers. Essentially they are contracted to do civic journalism (it should also be noted that Spot.Us only supports pitches in categories like education, environment, etc – pop-journalism is not allowed).
If we don't find a buyer the content is still published on our site – and made available for free to anyone to republish (from bloggers to news organizations). We believe that since the content is commissioned by the public it belongs to the public). All donations are tax-deductible so the while we didn't find a buyer – it is a charitable gift, similar to a donation to NPR.
If the content is sold – then the proceeds go BACK to the original donors who get their money back in the form of credits to invest in another story.
All donations are tax-deductible as we are a non-profit project.
The goal here is not to be underhanded in any way. We want to be as transparent about the money as possible because we have a sincere public mission: To support independent journalism.
Never hesitate to contact me if you have more questions: David[at]spot[dot]us.

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