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crowdfunding

Journalism Crowdfunder Helps Climate Micro-Pub Launch

Screen Shot 2014-02-01 at 11.22.30 PMWhile perusing Columbia Journalism Review’s website this morning, I was struck by a story detailing the beginnings of an environmentally-themed “micro-publication.” But more than the project itself (these things are popping up all over the place, it seems), the digital magazine Climate Confidential’s partner caught my eye.

Beacon, a platform that seeks to “empower” writers by allowing readers to access the work of their favorite reporters for $5 per month, will host Climate Confidential as its first publication on the site — but only under one condition. Using its own brand of crowdsourcing, Beacon plans to lift Climate Confidential off the ground if they can gather 800 readers to back the climate-focused reporting venture.

Typically, you can become a part of the Beacon community by chipping in $5 each month to your favorite writer (I vetted it, and there is plenty of good journalism to be discovered there), but Beacon evidently thinks the reporting and writing brains behind Climate Confidential (comprised of a six-woman team of freelance environmental/tech journalists) will be quality enough to host the publication on its website as a special “project”.

The digital pub, only available to those who contribute via Beacon’s platform, will still get its own branding and logo as a microsite under the Beacon umbrella and will enjoy the benefits of long-term financial help from those who feel the mainstream media is neglecting stories on the “forefront of research and development in cleantech, the water-energy-food nexus, transportation and public health,” wrote the Climate Confidential team.

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Lauren Berger Writes New Book for Young People Entering "Real World"

Lauren Berger Welcome to the Real WorldCareer Expert, Lauren Berger, releases her second book, Welcome to the Real World: Finding Your Place, Perfecting Your Work, and Turning Your Job Into Your Dream Career (Harper Business), on April 22nd. In this book, Berger shares everything she wishes someone told her after graduation. Her book is the essential guide to anyone starting their first, second, or third job. She encourages readers to be fearless, step outside of their comfort zones, and go after what they want.

The (Digital) Radio Star Lives: PRX Launches Podcast Network for Story-Driven Journalism

radiotopia finalThis week, PRX announced the launch of Radiotopia, a podast network for story-driven journalism, backed in part by a $200,000 grant from the Knight Foundation. Jake Shapiro, CEO of PRX, likens Radiotopia to an independent music label:

The analogy works in two ways. We’re trying to create a collective around a particular sound and approach in style so these artists, essentially, share an affinity for story driven, high quality audio inspired by public radio but designed for digital listening. And then role that the label ends up playing is one of marketing, distribution, promotion, sponsorship… and experiment with editorial collaboration, crowdfunding and so forth.

PRX has built mobile apps for podcasts such as This American Life,  The Moth, among many others, and plans on using Radiotopia to continue to learn and implement some ideas gained from their experience. Says Shapiro:

We are very interested in creating a feedback loop that gains from those insights and data and help improve not only PRX’s own tools for distribution and tactics but also becomes information that producers can start to use about better serving their audience. Radio for decades has honed ways of producing a broadcast, but in the world of producing for mobile listeners, we are still in very early days.

It may be early days, but story-driven journalism is certainly having a moment on the radio and in podcast form. And, unlike in print or on television, it’s somehow easier to make investigative journalism entertaining for broader audiences. Shapiro says exploring that space is inherent in PRX’s mission:

There’s a spot between making sure that we’re doing informative, mission driven journalism but still aiming for a broad audience with something thats extremely engaging and high quality and entertaining and well produced…it’s about finding that spot.  Read more

The Magazine Turns to Kickstarter to Fund A Collection of Stories


We’ve already discussed how the media is increasingly turning to crowdfunding as a source of financing.  The Magazine, an all-digital pub focused on non-fiction reporting and essays (about a variety of geeky topics), is the latest outlet to hop on the crowdfunding bandwagon.

The editors decided to start a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a print and eBook featuring a selection of writing from their first year. As of this writing, the campaign has earned $31,015 and they have nine days to go to reach their goal of $48,000.

10,000 Words spoke with executive editor Glenn Fleishman (via email) about his reasons for using Kickstarter: ”We had a lot of options at our disposal, including soliciting pre-orders directly over whatever period of time we chose until we reached a set amount,” Fleishman said. “Without a call to action, however, it’s hard to get people to pull the trigger unless you’re very popular and have something timely as well as compelling. We felt that crowdfunding would let us show our cards: We need to raise this much to pay everyone involved and produce a good-looking book.” Read more

‘For Journalism’ Wants to Help You Build News Apps, Learn to Code

photo-mainIn the spirit of the animated, multi-faceted debate going on about whether or not journalists should learn how to code, it seems like a good time to help introduce For Journalism, a startup seeking to offer data journalism and programming skills to the journalist of the future.

It’s safe to say which side of the fence For Journalism is on when it comes to the topic of how much technical knowledge writers and reporters should have — they say explicitly that we’re suffering from a “pipeline problem for people with data and programming skills for journalism.”

The project, spearheaded by Dave Stanton, a developer and Poynter technology fellow, provides journalists with curriculum on everything from Ruby on Rails (an open-source coding and programming resource) and Django, to creating meaningful pieces of data for accompanying journalistic work. Courses cost $20 and include an informational e-book, screencasts, code repositories and forums.

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Added Features for Vourno, the News Centric Crowdfunding Platform

vournologo1This past spring, I wrote about Vourno, a crowdfunding platform for the news. This week, they’ve added an “upload a video” feature in an effort to “promote immediate growth and content to [their] network and opens up [the] site to journalists around the globe seeking another distribution platform to showcase their work.”

Of course, you’ve always been able to upload a video onto Vourno, but it had to be through their “create a story” feature. Now journalists can link to a Vimeo or YouTube account or upload an actual video file, put it up for the public to fund or watch, and gain exposure.

In an effort to boost participation, Vourno offered $50 on the launch date, November 5th, to any journalist who uploaded a video. Co-founder Joe Verdirame couldn’t elaborate on the number of users who uploaded videos just yet, but told me via email that the promo has “set them in a positive direction.”

Since their US launch, Vourno has launched in Canada, and the U.K. and is planning on opening up shop in Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Spain in the coming year.

Have you used the site yet? Have a news video you want to upload?

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