Community funding- a lifeline for online journalism?

On line press review BusinesssWeek identifies another aspect in the evolution of online journalism.

“A growing number of entrepreneurs and journalism advocates around the country are experimenting with a new type of business model for news: community-funded online journalism.

Organized around a group of readers bound by location or an area of interest, these new Web sites solicit donations to pay for the work of professional journalists”.

The article quotes the example of Spot. us where readers wanting to see a particular story researched, written and published, donate to help fund it. At the time of writing, the website is highlighting the following story.

PITCH: The future of Bay Area newspapers in a digital age and changing economy

Posted Friday, December 12, 2008 by Aaron Crowe in Bay Area

Advertising revenues are dropping, circulation is falling, the economy is in a recession, jobs are being cut, and a few companies own all of the newspapers in the Bay Area.… Read More »




$210.00 raised

$690.00 to go

You can find one of the early successes of Spot. us here.

The New York Times calls this business model as “crowd funding”. Though this rises visions of a take over by lumpen elements and motivated funding (similar to what tobacco & some medical companies are often accused off), Jeff Howe, a contributing editor at Wired Magazine believes it’s also one of several strategies that could help save the newspapers.”

When many news website like The NY Times itself are struggling to make their site commercially viable it is unlikely the financial model of Spot. us will replicate its small success elsewhere. A quick glance at the history of online journalism reveals that community funding could well become just a footnote.

Image by pzhel