Personally, I hope this new model is working. Developed and dedicated for citizen journalism, a new site called Spot.Us is a hub where freelance journalists (“anyone can be a journalist”) can pitch story ideas and readers can create a “story tip” and pitch in money to pay the journalists for their published-stories.
So, here is the process: The reader finds the story and shares it as a tip (or assignment); then the journalist who loves the tip will follow-up the breaking-news, investigate the fact, gather the related information, write the news and submit it to this site. It the story gets published, he/she will get paid. Sound interesting, right?
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.
David Cohn, who launches this site, calls:
Citizens: I need your help. You are the only ones that know what stories are untold. Let us know what you want investigated by creating a tip. Do the ground level community organizing around pithces and tips you are passionate about – grow the network. Just 40 people donating $25 each is enough to fund the average story. In return you get a new sense of editorial power. Finally you can determine what investigations get reported on in your community.
Reporters: Try pitching the public. If it works – you’ll get paid for doing what you love. You can build out your portfolio, find new story ideas from the tips and through Spot.Us you can pitch traditional news organizations and the public at the same time!
News organizations: It’s time for freelancers and publications to move forward together. Use Spot.Us to stretch your freelance budget, discover a fresh pool of talent and forge positive relationships with your readers. If you have freelancers you already work with – why not let them crowdfund half their wage on Spot.Us?