Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - Community Powered Reporting

My friend and fellow anthropologist Dvera Saxton turned me on to
"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... Spot.Us is a nonprofit project of the "Center for Media Change" and funded by various groups like the Knight Foundation. We partner with various organizations including the Annenberg School of Communications in Los Angeles."

This is a really fascinating, multi-media project (reporters are encouraged to pitch their story ideas on YouTube to help garner interest and funds) that seeks to refocus journalism as a jointly created, participatory action rather than individually reported object. During his own video pitch, founder David Cohn describes their mission to "support local investigative journalism, civic journalism." One of their primary guiding principles is that journalism is a process, not a product, an exciting revelation for those sick of the overly produced spectacle of 24 hour new shows or the erroding line between journalist/celebrity/personality/authority.

They've provided relatively easy to navigate FAQS for community members, reporters and news organizations which helps break down how stories are produced, funded and what happens with the final content. I'm excited to see how this project evolves and the questions and solutions it can inspire.