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crowdfunding

‘Bellingcat’ Kickstarter Campaign Seeks to Unite Investigative Citizen Journalists

BellingcatCitizen journalism is more prevalent than ever with the upsurge in social media platforms. Now that so much information is available at our fingertips, it seems that reporters — both formally trained and novice — are even hungrier for accurate news.

A crowdfunding campaign by a man named Eliot Higgins has the goal of bringing together citizen journalists who are curious about hard news issues through an open-source website. His vision is for contributors all over the world to continue coverage of “Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Kurdistan, Nigeria, Jihadists, Shia armed groups, the UK phone hacking scandal, police corruption, and more,” he wrote on Kickstarter.

Bellingcat, as he calls it, is based on the idea that citizen journalists have the power to do much of the investigation that traditional media outlets do. YouTube and Reddit are just two hugely important tools that anyone who values verification and getting to the bottom of a news story can use, and it’s totally open-sourced. Social media does the same thing, Higgins wrote on his Kickstarter page.

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Kickstarter Launches Journalism-Focused Category

journokickstarterToday, Kickstarter announced that it will be giving journalism projects their very own space. So whether you want to fund a magazine or a reporting adventure, you have a place to do it.

Along with the subcategory, The Guardian announced that they will manage their own curated page of projects. There are over 900 journalism focused projects, so it’s nice to have someone organize them for you. For good reason, too. On the main Journalism page, stories about drones, Iran at the World Cup, and bitcoin explainers are shown alongside “When a Ginger Travels Abroad.” On the Guardian‘s page, most of the projects are already funded — like the automated FOIA requests from the CIR. But there are still causes you can get behind, like this “shamelessly retro” paper delivery service in San Franciso. Of course.

Have a journalism project on Kickstarter? Tweet them to us @10,000Words or share in the comments.

Image via Kickstarter

Culture and Political News — With a Hardcover

hrdcvrDanyel Wilson and Elliot Smith think, like most of us, that journalism as it’s practiced today needs fixing. So they’re focusing on the “soul” of our beloved craft and launching a magazine, in the form of a book. Yes, you read that correctly.

If you want to see it to believe it, you can donate now to their Kickstarter fund for the project, HRDCVR, which is open until June 5th.

Smith and Wilson are both journalists themselves, working at places like XXL and Vibe, respectively. So the magazine has a focus on culture and politics, with an emphasis on music, tech, and elections. Wilson “refined” the project while studying at Stanford University on a Knight Foundation fellowship. The magazine comes with an ethos of ditching the niche and the mainstream — something many publications are flocking towards — and being “multistream.”

Smith says in their release for the Kickstarter campaign that HRDCVR plans to:

make content from the revolutionary stance of everyone being equally interesting. We embrace the politics and cultures and passions of actual and projected populations in the United States. Our creative teams reflect and take inspiration from the humans and the humanity behind the new demographics

They’ve already raised about 4% of their goal, so if you want to see the highly designed (and heavy?) magazine, donate soon. You can follow the project at @HRDCVRx and fund it here.

For more on HRDCVR and to hear Wilson’s social media tips, read Hey, How’d You Become Hip-Hop’s Social Media Authority, Elliott Wilson?

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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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

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