What a Failed Media Startup Can Teach Us About Involving Readers in Reporting

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.

Tips for Donors 

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.

How Not to Win a Journalism Grant

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.

Can Civil’s Blockchain Save Journalism?

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.