I Love Spot.us

Spot.usA new ‘community based reporting’ startup launched earlier this month, Spot.Us.

I love the concept.  Microfunding reporting, independent of a news organization.  Readers, meet the reporter.  If enough money is raised to cover the costs of the story, the reporter is put to work.  I gave $5 to a proposed story on MUNI express buses in SF, and why there were not more of them.  I just got this email:

Score for for community funded reporting!!

Together we’ve raised $250 from 14 people who gave an average of $17 each!

http://spot.us/pitches/39

I couldn’t be more giddy. But now comes the hard part: Tom Prete, our reporter, will represent us – asking the questions and digging up the answers.

Next we will assign a fact-check editor to the story. Once the reporting is done – we will let you know.

In the meantime: If you know any news organizations that might be interested in this reporting – you should let them know. If they want first publishing rights that is possible: But they’ll have to refund all the donations. At just $250 – and with a built in audience – I’d argue that was a deal.

Best thing of all?  It is a nonprofit, so your funding of a story is tax deductable.

Way to go Dave Cohn and team.

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  • thats pretty damn interesting…thanks for sharing.

  • Man – you blogged that quick!

  • Wow, that is a really cool idea. But it worries me too. Who's to say that the reporter is capable of covering the story fully? Or of getting the right sources? Or of taking the angle that's best suited for the story?

    Giving someone money to write a story almost seems like those people are putting too much faith in the reporter. I'm a writer, and I understand my own limitations. I wouldn't feel comfortable if people were “rooting” for me to right a story by offering me money – surely the people with the money have an agenda too.

    Anyway, cool idea, but I don't love it. It's nice to see people thinking outside the box though!

  • Too funny, I posted “Three Open Source Tricks For Old Media Dogs” this morning. In it I discuss how this is the way the “old media dogs” should be working…sadly, I'm pretty sure they won't get it.

    Read the post: http://whurley.com/2008/12/17/three-open-source

  • Hey, Andrew, sorry I just saw this. Thanks a bunch! I am really looking forward to getting started on that story, most likely about mid-January, after I complete some other work to which I'm already committed.

    Laryssa, thank you for your skepticism — truly. Everyone needs an editor and someone to ask, “How do you know the things you say you know?” I myself have some questions about that whole model of journalism, but I think it's interesting enough that I am willing to try it. As for whether I can pull it off, I'm confident I can, but we'll find out soon! In the meantime, there's a digest of my qualifications at http://spot.us/profiles/178.

  • Hey, Andrew, sorry I just saw this. Thanks a bunch! I am really looking forward to getting started on that story, most likely about mid-January, after I complete some other work to which I'm already committed.

    Laryssa, thank you for your skepticism — truly. Everyone needs an editor and someone to ask, “How do you know the things you say you know?” I myself have some questions about that whole model of journalism, but I think it's interesting enough that I am willing to try it. As for whether I can pull it off, I'm confident I can, but we'll find out soon! In the meantime, there's a digest of my qualifications at http://spot.us/profiles/178.

  • Hey, Andrew, sorry I just saw this. Thanks a bunch! I am really looking forward to getting started on that story, most likely about mid-January, after I complete some other work to which I'm already committed.

    Laryssa, thank you for your skepticism — truly. Everyone needs an editor and someone to ask, “How do you know the things you say you know?” I myself have some questions about that whole model of journalism, but I think it's interesting enough that I am willing to try it. As for whether I can pull it off, I'm confident I can, but we'll find out soon! In the meantime, there's a digest of my qualifications at http://spot.us/profiles/178.

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