Tag Archives: crowdfunding

A crowdfunded contributor on why the death of Contributoria was sudden but not unexpected

contributoria logo

In a post originally published on his blog theplan, Contributoria contributor Jon Hickman explains why he wasn’t surprised by the closure of the site

The journalism project Contributoria has announced that it has published its last issue this month. I wasn’t surprised to hear that the site would close, but the pace of the closure did catch me off guard.

I’ve written for the site several times as I was interested in the mechanics of its crowdfunding model.

Contributoria was both a crowdfunding platform and a web and print magazine. Articles were commissioned based on the distribution of ‘points’ by Contributoria members, and those members could engage with writers during the drafting of articles. Continue reading

Guest post: Why I crowdfunded a case against the German government over surveillance exports

investigative journalist Boris Kartheuser won a right-to-information case against the German government. In a guest post for OJB,  explains how he came to use a new crowdfunding site to raise money to pursue the case after the government appealed.

We all remember the pictures of uprisings in Libya, Egypt, Bahrain or Tunisia a few years ago. Hundreds of thousands of people marching in the streets to protest against oppressive and corrupt governments.

Many of these protestors paid a high price for their courageous uprising: shot in the streets; arrested, tortured and killed in prison.

Some were caught because authorities were able to monitor every step they took, every email they wrote and listen to every conversation they held over the phone – using surveillance technology developed in countries such as Great Britain, Italy and my own country: Germany. Continue reading

FAQ: Investigative journalism now – and its future

The latest in the series of FAQ posts comes from a student in Germany who is interested in how investigative journalism is affected by the financial situation of publishers, and how it might develop in the next decade. Continue reading

Making digital journalism pay: doable. Making a living: difficult

SA Mathieson, who has previously written for OJB about crowdfunding journalism, was one of three speakers at an NUJ Oxford event on how to make digital journalism pay. In a guest post for OJB he sums up the key points.

It is perfectly realistic for journalists to make money out of digital journalism, but the problem comes from making a decent living.

That was the theme to emerge from the NUJ Oxford event on making digital journalism pay. 

Speaking first, Tim Dawson, vice-president of the National Union of Journalists and a long-time writer and editor for The Sunday Times, has literally written the book on this area: Help Yourself – new ways to make money from writing. (It’s also available free for NUJ members – details here.)

He outlined some of the methods for raising money, which can be divided into three types: advertising-funded, marketing for other business and reader-funded. (More on his New Model Journalism site here.)

Continue reading

Crowdfunding: what are you paying for?

Few examples illustrate the complexities of crowdfunding better than Shane Bauer‘s Beacon page to crowdfund $75,000 for a year-long investigation into US prisons. It includes a number of options for “backing” Bauer (a usefully generic term) which fall into 3 broad categories and are worth learning from:

1. Are you paying for content?

crowdfunding subscriptions on Beacon

The most obvious thing to charge for in a crowdfunding operation is content. And so, the most basic options in Bauer’s project (and in most Beacon projects) are subscriptions: monthly, six-monthly, and annual. Continue reading

Fund an investigative project – and get analytics for free?

Lyra McKee is a brave young woman. Not (just) because of her investigation into the murder of a Northern Ireland politician – but because of her decision this week to offer supporters access to the metrics behind it.

Many journalists would find such an idea terrifying: telling everyone how many people are reading my work? Sharing it? Finishing it? There’s simply too much to lose. “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”

But crowdfunding creates a different dynamic. When I backed SA Mathieson‘s project on Beacon, I wasn’t buying content: I was supporting something I believed in. I was supporting a writer to spend time on one topic.

Notably, Beacon’s own strategy acknowledges this: there is no way to subscribe to the ‘brand’ of Beacon – to get access to all content you must support one specific project. Continue reading