Will you pay for international reporting?

News is becoming increasingly free, with more turning to free news websites like the New York Times. Just last week, Time published a piece on How to Save Your Newspaper by its former managing editor Walter Isaacson. In it, Isaacson argues that charging for journalism is the way for the industry to regain its foothold.

An example is Tom Poyk of the Iraq Hack, who has accomplished what few had done before. Wanting to go to Iraq to do reporting and yet not having the money to do so, he appealed — and got — readers to pay for his foreign reporting stint.

Now, a new non-profit project called Spot.Us has emerged in the United States to enable the public to fund stories that they are interested in. Acting as a portal, it enables visitors to browse through story pitches, and donate to that particular story if they’re interested. Among stories that have been successfully funded and completed are: From Plate to Plant: What Happens When You Flush the Toilet? and How Does the Economic Downturn Affect Small San Francisco Businesses?

Portals like Spot.US which brings together reporters and readers with common interests are then perhaps the way to the future of journalism. Though they are now mainly focused on community reporting, as this practice becomes established, sites like Iraq Hack in which readers fund international reporting might become the norm.

What do you think?



Filed under Uncategorized

3 responses to “Will you pay for international reporting?

  1. This is a great find! You do a very nice job of linking larger journalism’s money woes with the int’l reporting angle. I’d love to have read a bit more about the ethical implications of such a funding structure (i.e. what if a report on schools is funded by Ministry of Education…). Good work overall. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. ser

    Babe, I think you can also check out ohmynews, from South Korea.
    They’re a citizen journalism site, but similar to spot.us, readers give a donation directly to the writer if they like the story he has written.

    The ethical implications of this … are another thing altogether. But I remember talking to one of the OMN chiefs there, and he did mention that a person can get a few tens or hundreds of dollars for a widely-read topical article.

  3. andreasoh

    Compared to advertiser-funded news, I think Spot.Us has a much better structure in the sense that no article is fully funded by one person but by a number of members, contributing between $10 and $100. Furthermore, because the money donated is looked upon as a one-off thing, there is no expectation of funding from the same person for future articles. This takes away the pressure to tailor the angle of a story for even a major donor.

    Ser: Thanks for the tip! I just took a look and it seems like they’ve changed their funding structure. I guess I might feature that on a future blog post ๐Ÿ™‚

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s