Sunday, 8 February 2009

A novel paid-journalism model

Will readers pay journalists to research and publish stories they have a particular interest in?

As possible solutions to the knotty problem of how to get readers to pay for news it is certainly one of the more left-field ideas. But Spot.Us is giving it a go - and claims it is working.

Story pitches are published on the Spot.Us site, and readers invited to contribute towards the cost of producing them. There's a handy button with "I'll donate $25" on it, and another slot for readers to suggest stories they'd like to see followed up.

There's also a quote from the New York Times, saying: "Spot Us would give a news sense of editorial power to the public."

The LA Times columnist James Rainey took a look at the six stories published in the site's first three months, and found them editorially wanting. Which is not to invalidate the idea.

Journalists ask for between $500 and $1,000 per assignment, and no one bidder can find more than 20% of a project.

It might sound mad at first, but think of it like an ad feature. No shame in getting a grand for one of those.

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