When I first met David Cohn he was a wee lad, writing for Wired magazine and looking to expand his opportunities. He wrote many wonderful (and some not-so-wonderful) blog posts here, such as Internet Radio To-Go, Rsstroom for the Restroom, Writing in Pajamas, Wine Tech, Digital Art, Very Small DJs and of course, as nobody will forget, Digital Hugs.
Dave’s gone on great journeys since his days at LD, got himself a degree, worked with various citizen journalism projects, and let his hair go way out. And today he launched Spot.us, a “crowdfunded journalism” site (disclosure: I’m an advisor to the site, but it’s a non-profit, so it’s cool).
Basically, if you have a cause/concern/issue you think is worthy of some investigative journalism, and are willing to put a bit of money toward it (think $10 or $25, not $1000), spot.us is the place for you. I’ve submitted 4 tips so far (Why are San Francisco city streets in such poor condition?, How effective are the homeless shelter resources?, Why Aren’t There More MUNI Express Buses? and Is swimming in the Bay actually safe?), and one of them has already been “picked up” by a journalist!
This is the 2nd half to spot.us – journalists can either read through “tips” (written by concerned folks like myself) or simply “pitch” stories they are interested in writing about. So the pitch “How safe are San Francisco Bay beaches and water a year after the Cosco Busan oil spill?” is now up for crowdfunding. As I write this, it’s received pledges for $360, and the reporter is asking for a total of $800 to do the work.
Will this replace journalism as we know it today? That’s a big TBD, but in an industry with massive flux and consternation (love that word), it’s exciting to watch new options emerge. Good luck, Dave!