Newspapers face both threats and opportunities from radio, TV and the internet. Nick Evershed writes that advertising revenue is falling and new ways of funding journalism are being sought.
I certainly discern a sentiment ‘out there’ that there is not enough investigative journalism by traditional publishers into environmental, human rights, development, cultural and conflict issues. These topics are often the focus of a new threat/opportunity – non-profit news publishers, or ‘new news’.
PIJ Foundation chair, freelance journalist, author and Crikey media commentator, Margaret Simons says they are considering three or four models, based partially on the US organisation, Spot.Us, which describes itself as an:
“open source project to pioneer ‘community powered reporting.’ Through Spot.Us the public can commission and participate with journalists to do reporting on important and perhaps overlooked topics. Contributions are tax deductible and we partner with news organizations to distribute content under appropriate licenses. Donors can also take a survey from our sponsors, when available, to support the story of their choice at no cost to them.”
YouCommNews uses the internet to crowd-source both ideas and resources for high quality, community driven journalism.
It allows members of the public to commission the stories they want investigated.
Story ideas are ‘pitched’ on the site and anyone can then pledge funds to support the projects.
The stories that receive enough funding are researched and then are available for publication in mainstream, independent and online media, either freely, or through the sale of publication rights. In the latter instance there would be refunds to those who initially funded the journalism.
YouCommNews is described as:
• An experimental business model for supporting and growing news and public affairs journalism in the broadband environment
• An industry innovation aimed at harnessing the social networking abilities of the internet
• An industry training mechanism, in which final year journalism students and graduates can gain experience and skills within a media organisation
The idea behind New News is to take an optimistic look at the possibilities of new media to improve journalism.
The theme this year is ‘what works’, the aim being to break down some of the barriers between professional journalists and others.
There will be formal sessions, which will run on Friday 26 August and a more informal ‘unconference’ the next day.
The times, they DO keep a-changin’…