For those interested in pondering the future of the troubled journalism industry, check out Spot.us. It’s a new “community funded journalism” website where citizens propose story ideas (say you have a leaky landfill in your community and the news media won’t cover it), reporters pitch stories that could be inspired by those citizen-submitted ideas, and readers contribute/donate money to see the stories researched and written. It gives editorial power to the public, and because Spot.us is a non-profit all reader donations are tax deductible.
There are plenty of questions….Will people actually care enough to donate to stories?…Will readers demand a more active role in the story research/writing?…..Is it any different having an agenda-driven citizen group fund a story vs. a company fund a story (maybe so if it evens the stakes)? Who knows…but it’s a worthwhile experiment as a clear break from ad-driven journalism and a new way to enlists citizens as editors.