Spot Us is an experiment in creating a journalism marketplace that cuts through the usual editorial process. It connects people who want stories done with journalists who can do them.
Anyone can suggest a story. A journalist sets a price to do the story. People who want the story pledge to get it done. Spot Us gets the story edited and distributed for free to newspapers, radio or TV.If a media outlet wants exclusivity, they can pay back all the citizen funders.
Pros – Bypasses editors and media outlets; enables reporters to connect directly with an audience; provides a new space between professional and amateur journalism.
But – Will enough people pay?; do people really want journalism or just stories that support what they thought in the first place; will it attract strong journalists?
I first heard about in the the NYT and then interviewed founder David Cohn recently. I’ve heard of individual reporters seeking funding for their work. Local liberal political blog Horses Ass is using a similar model to fundraise for former Stranger reporter Josh Feit to cover the election. But this is the first effort I’ve seen to create a marketplace. It’s a two year grant from the Knight Foundation. Spot Us is based in the Bay Area but Cohn hopes to spread it around the country.