Thursday, January 7, 2010

Spot.US: a silver bullet?

David Cohn,
a candid interview

I wasn't expecting to find such an interesting news model —but David Cohn's Spot.Us is something else.

Spot.Us is a nonprofit project of the Center for Media Change funded by various groups like the Knight Foundation.

When asked, David Cohn sees his organization's mission as that of a provider of local investigative reporting, funded by the community.

The process is initiated with news "tips" that the community feels are stories worth covering. Reporters propose news "pitches" based on these tips, while editors from Spot.Us provide an estimate of the cost, and screen both pitches and reporters. Finally, the community or news organizations finance through their donations each approved pitch.

And it doesn't end there, if a news organization finances 50% of the cost, it gets the exclusive. If not, it will get published at no cost at any organization willing to publish it — blogs, New York Times... Of course, we're talking of a 100% financed story. If not, it gets scrapped —well, not really... the reporter involved could also donate part of his time too.

Finally, this is an Open Source project. I read that there's already a site in Japan using the same piece of software.

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