• Transparency and
Ethics/Ideals incorporated into
control over donations.
other organizations (NPR).
• No longer a foreign
concept. Adoption of platform
API and increased productivity.
• Cloud reporting
• Around 95 projects in sponsorships.
From successful experiment to
• Average amount raised sustainable business.
Research Areas in progress
1) Spot.Us data analysis, with USC doc student Lian Jian.
2) Interviews by Mizzou doc student of ‘awesomesauce’ Jon Peters
with other players in the ﬁeld and Spot.Us reporters.
Aim: Handbook for Community-Funded Reporting.
Research to do:
1) Crowdfunding and Spot.Us (the business model): strengths,
weaknesses, limitations, etc.
2) Crowdfunding and journalism (the journalism model): ability of
Spot.Us reporters to perform quality journalism while using the
model either by assigning tasks or fundraising.
[T]he problem with a public pitch is that if potential sources see your pitch and don’t like your angle, they
might not talk to you. I had one source that was unhappy with the language I used in my pitch.
– Sheila Regan
From all the stories I have written this year, and the editors I've worked with, my experience with Spot.Us has
been the best. [David was] great at maintaining communication and ready and willing to help along the way. I ...
haven't readily experienced this type of relationship with traditional publishers and editors, so it's a breath of
fresh air. Secondly, the idea that the public [is] willing to pay to see your story come to fruition is beyond
– Liana Aghajanian
I was also intrigued to be part of this experiment in journalism. However, in practice, I found it to be more work
than the usual method of pitching a story to an editor and then going from there. I spent a lot of time
researching and writing blog posts in an effort to gin up enthusiasm and dollars for my story ... [A]s a
professional reporter, I'm uncomfortable posting information unless I can verify its accuracy, which takes time.
-- Erica Gies
[David] stressed the role of Spot as a fund-raising mechanism and not a grant source, that I would needed [sic]
to partner with others in my community to get my stories funded and that local stories tended to have more of
an attraction. This focus appealed to me because my career has always been rooted in community journalism
and my ideas spring from the communities I serve. I feel the role of journalism is to help communities make
meaning of issues in their communities by providing credible information and to promote public dialogue.
– Denise Lockwood
Broad Players Journalism Funders Alt. Fundraising
Experiment - CFS
CFS is an experiment for Spot.Us:
Advertising with transparency and control for the public.
Status: Mostly built with a few rough edges.
Early success: I’ve sold a few in my copious spare time.
• It is sellable!
• It Doesn’t sell itself.
• This week’s experiment - might be a ﬂop
• Sweet spot of journalism funding. Kickstarter's broad appeal. The hard
sell of local reporting that doesn’t
come with a crocheted scarf.
• Empowering community,
Realities of fundraising.
• A.P.I. / Platform = Cloud ie: We can
scale. Mass adoption of paywalls.
• New sponsorship model. Language barrier.
• Built a strong brand in some Vulnerability to lawsuits
communities. With the right API we or loss of trust to larger communities.
can incorporate other brands easily.
Aim By May
• A handbook for reporters to guide them through the
process of community-funded reporting.
• An A.P.I. that starts with P.R.X. (working on it ASAP).
First partner is Louisville Public Media. Plus natural
expansion of Spot.Us.
• Community-focused sponsorships: As many as humanly
possible. While selling we will reﬁne, deﬁne best
implementations for Spot.Us and best target sponsors.