Canada’s OpenFile had an elegant concept. They would ask readers to tell them what they thought was important and make editorial decisions around that. But the platform’s initial success couldn’t be sustained as it struggled to make money and maintain the flow of reader-suggested stories. Here’s what the OpenFile journalists learned about community journalism along the way.
John Schrag had known for a while about an unexamined pool of data that could shed new light on the issue of concussions in high school sports. The executive editor of a newspaper in Oregon, his first instincts were to keep the story in-house and garner all the glory, but he quickly realized the only way the story would see the light of day was through collaboration.
The increasing lack of credibility and growing political meddling in Romanian mainstream media in recent years has resulted in many journalists leaving these outlets and starting their own independent sites. Some of these initiatives support themselves by relying on crowdfunding. But is it viable in the long term?
Interest by the philanthropic community in supporting public-interest media is not new. Donor-supported nonprofit magazines like National Geographic and Mother Jones have been around for decades. The original Fund for Investigative Journalism dates back to 1969, while America’s National Public Radio began in 1971. Following the end of the Cold War, Western governments and foundations pumped billions of dollars abroad, as part of an emerging “media development” field to establish independent news outlets in former Communist states and developing countries. Over the past few years, however, with the Internet-fueled spread of disinformation and a growing global backlash against free expression, donors are taking renewed interest in funding independent journalism.
Donors and prospective donors encounter not only difficult strategic choices, but also questions about how to measure the impact of their investments. These recent reports collected by GIJN delve into the social value of such philanthropy, assess programmatic options and provide measurement tools.
Journalists are not usually in the frame of mind for grants. They pitch their story to an editor, the editor says “no” or “yes” and they get to work. But drafting a grant application is a somewhat complex technique. Here is a list of mistakes that tend to kill many fledgling journalistic projects before they even stand a chance.
With a $5 million funding budget, the new platform is dreamily promising a new “canvas on which journalists can paint the future of their industry.” But it isn’t clear how the blockchain-based technology will generate the cold hard cash needed to sustain the industry’s revenue-starved publications, writes Rowan Philp for GIJN.
Raising money for your news organization via crowdfunding is difficult and can be stressful. Hungary’s Direkt36, which has run four successful crowdfunding campaigns so far, offers 10 tips from their experience to help you plan a good campaign. A GIJN original.
The Bell illustrates a growing trend in which Russian journalists and media managers are finding ways of building news organizations that are not financially dependent on rich businessmen vulnerable to Kremlin pressure.
Berlin-based daily Tageszeitung (Taz for short) is a reader-supported newspaper where a 500 euro membership doesn’t even get you a free subscription. Yet more than 17,000 people have joined the Taz news cooperative in Germany on exactly those terms.