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Spot.Us is a new economic model for writers based on ‘community funded reporting.’

COMMUNITY FUNDED reporting. I like this idea a lot. Their domain name is sweet too, Spot.Us is, as stated in their elevator pitch-

a nonprofit project to pioneer “community funded reporting.” Through Spot.Us the public can commission investigations with tax deductible donations for important and perhaps overlooked stories. If a news organization buys exclusive rights to the content, donations are reimbursed. Otherwise content is made available through a Creative Commons license.
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The basic concept is that you can donate $20 (or other amounts) to help fund currently accepted pitches, and you can also register, which enables you to submit your own pitches for consideration and funding.

Just to get an idea of what kinds of pitches are currently being funded, check out some of these titles:

*Who Benefits from the Legalization of Medical Marijuana

*American Apparel’s Firings: A Canary in the Immigration Policy Coal Mine

*New Depression in LA

Admittedly, I’ve only just briefly checked out this community, but I love what I see so far. There appears to be a very clean and straightforward system of submitting pitches, having work peer reviewed as well as work on stories in collaboration, something I believe will become more and more common to journalists working in 2010.

What really stokes me though about the concept of Spot.Us is that it’s locally-based (currently in the Bay Area and Los Angeles) yet scalable worldwide.

With current freelance writing rates bottoming out last year, Spot.Us gives writers a chance to make a decent rate for their work, and most importantly, pursue stories they might otherwise be unable to afford researching or going after. I would love to see this blow up around the country.

For more info, check out this slideshow:

Community Connection

What do you think about community funded reporting? Please let us know in the comments. We’d especially like to hear from any community members of



About The Author

David Miller

David Miller is Senior Editor of Matador (winner of 2010 and 2011 Lowell Thomas awards for travel journalism) and Director of Curricula at MatadorU. Follow him @dahveed_miller.

  • Simone Gorrindo

    I’ve seen online funding platforms for artists before, but never seen one for reporters — very, very cool! I like the looks of the stories they’re funding. Going to check this out now. Thanks, David.

  • joshua johnson

    What a truly revolutionary idea. Perhaps the press can once again be a watchdog for democracy, one citizen support issue at a time.
    Great find David.

  • Amir

    Ridiculously awesome. Puts the news back in the hands of the people, where it should be. No more celebrity gossip (unless they start paying for articles about themselves)! Gonna check out the site right now…
    Thanks for the info!

  • Hal Amen

    Excellent find, David. Clicking over now.

  • Michelle

    Killer idea!


    Interesting concept and idea. It’s another way for freelance writers to get their name and story out “there” for the world to read. Very cool! We’ll probably see more of these sites in the coming years since our media platforms are transforming. People are beginning to “wake up” to the world around them and are not liking what they’re seeing. Better late than never.

  • Mike M

    Another good way of getting funding to write a story is
    I am putting together a pitch right now – so I haven’t tried it yet but seems like quite a few artistic ventures are funded this way…at no cost!

    • David Miller

      thanks for the heads up on that mike. let us know how it goes.

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