The Future of Content Through Crowdfunding and Journalism
Posted on March 4, 2014 by RoyMorejon Updated March 4, 2014
Crowdfunding has been around for quite a few years. This grass-roots method of raising capital for a new business, restaurant or even church mission has proven very effective. Businesses as diverse as fashion designers, gamers and manufacturers of computer hardware have amassed the money they need to open their doors using crowdfunding.
One of the newer sectors of the business world to take advantage of this tactic is journalism. Freelance journalists are using crowdfunding to raise the money they need to follow a story without the editorial constraints involved with working for a newspaper, news service or news magazine.
Crowdfunding the content
Crowdfunding offers increased opportunities for freelancers, but it’s not just solo journalists who are asking you to foot the bill for their next great story. Writers who work for organizations that can’t–or won’t–spring for expenses for an overseas assignment or lengthy investigative research have turned to kickstarter programs to help them follow their hunches.
One recent example is Kim-Mai Cutler, who works for AOL’s “Tech Crunch.” She wants to fly to Vietnam to find the creator of the
“Flappy Bird” app that was recently pulled off of the market by Apple. There’s obviously a story behind the sudden move against the popular app, but it’s one that’s all, but impossible to learn via telephone interviews. That’s where you (and crowdfunding) come in. Cutler has turned to Crowd Tilt to help her raise the $3,000 necessary for her trip. To date, she’s raised over $5,000 with ten days remaining on the campaign.
Letting the readers pick the story
Another angle to crowdfunding and journalism is being tried by a handful of online news publications. Traditionally, news outlets, website and magazines have paid to produce a story and then sold it, either as a physical magazine or newspaper or, more recently, as a single article on sites like Amazon.com. Now, a few forward-thinking freelance journalists are bypassing editors and even news outlets and pitching their stories directly to the readers. Platforms like Uncoverage and Kickstarter make it possible for individual readers to help pay for an article before it is written. Kickstarter alone recently hit the one billion dollar mark in funding. Clearly, people are reacting positively to crowdfunding appeals.
Whether the news-reading public embraces sponsoring news stories before they are written remains to be seen. After all, the concept turns our traditional view of the separation of editorial and commerce in news reporting on its ear. Is that a good thing? Only time will tell.
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