I read about this interesting idea the other day in the New York Times. It suggests that in the future perhaps only that reporting which people will directly pay for will be done. Does this mean that journalism goes out only to the highest bidder? What about the stories that nobody wishes to see the light of day?
From Sarah Kersaw’s story in the Times: “The idea, which they are calling â€œcommunity-funded journalism,â€ is now being tested in the San Francisco Bay area, where a new nonprofit, Spot Us, is using its Web site, spot.us, to solicit ideas for investigative articles and the money to pay for the reporting. But the experiment has also raised concerns of journalism being bought by the highest bidder.
“The idea is that anyone can propose a story, though the editors at Spot Us ultimately choose which stories to pursue. Then the burden is put on the citizenry, which is asked to contribute money to pay upfront all of the estimated reporting costs. If the money doesnâ€™t materialize, the idea goes unreported.
Jay Rosen, whose blog I link to here on my blog roll, had this to say in the story about journalism today: “â€œWeâ€™re at a point now where nobody actually knows where the money is going to come from for editorial goods in the future. My own feeling is that we need to try lots of things. Most of them wonâ€™t work. Youâ€™ll have a lot of failure. But we need to launch a lot of boats.â€