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Spot.Us

Posted by jessdrkn on June 5, 2009

Location: San Francisco spotus

Focus: crowdfunded news, trend stories around San Francisco area; investigative

Launched: 2008

Employees/Writers: Founded by David Cohn, who is also director; staff of 2 — Mr. Cohn and Kara Andrade, a “five-year veteran of multimedia journalism, print and online, who uses social media to bridge the world of newspapers, technologists and entrepreneurs to present relevant, accessible and edgy stories”; freelance reporters are paid; 9-member board of advisors; 8-member community advisory board;

Funding: “community funded” (crowdfunded), non-profit project through the Center for Media Change; $340,000 seed money provided by the Knight Foundation; also sponsored by Full Circle Fund

Spot.Us pitches story ideas to the public, or receives story ideas from the public or journalists, at varying costs. The stories are funded through direct donation drives; the business model has received heavy press attention and is being closely watched by the industry as a possible journalistic funding alternative 

“1) People submit tips 2) Journalist pitch stories 3) People fund pitches 4) Stories are reported anyone can publish”

Site: spot.us

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. … It’s a marketplace where independent reporters, community members and news organizations can come together and collaborate.

Sample stories: “Ethanol could be a weak link in state’s energy network”; “The return of the Hooverville: Car and tent cities on the rise in San Francisco”; “A day in the life of a turd: Sludge and lifecycle of human waste”; “In spite of gloom, Muni expects to improve commuter service”

Sample story pitches, unfunded as of June 5, 2009:  ”City budget blues: Covering San Francisco’s half-billion hole”, pitched by Public-Press, a SF nonprofit news outlet, $310 raised, $4,690 needed

“Almost funded” as of June 5, 2009: “Civilian oversight of police in Oakland — breaking the wall of silence”, $798 raised, $202 needed ; “The stories behind empty storefronts in the Mission”; “Bay Area toxic tour”, $1,193 raised, $307 needed

Other: Knight Foundation’s 5 Questions for David Cohn, here

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