Originally published: January 21, 2010
Last updated: January 21, 2010 - 10:06pm
All fall, they came fast and furious: Another conference or report on new funding models to reinvent and save journalism. Conferences at Harvard, Yale, Aspen, and reports from the Knight Foundation and Columbia University's Journalism School, just to name a few. The consensus? There wasn't one.
There are lots of ideas, but no clear picture yet of what will work. The Knight Foundation has been at the forefront of encouraging new models through grants to organizations that use digital open-source technology; are targeted at local and geographic, not virtual, communities; and allow universal access. The approach is that "Everybody should try new models," said Jose Zamora, a program associate in the foundation's journalism program. "There's no other way to find what's next than to experiment." So far, he said, crowd-funding — or soliciting direct donations for specific stories — as practiced at Spot.us seems to be doing well, as is a site called Printcasting.com, where writers and advertisers submit material to the site for readers to print out custom magazines. A Knight-funded hyperlocal aggregation site called Everyblock.com was purchased by MSNBC, he noted, which "in a way is a huge success in itself, recognition that we're doing something that's valued by the media world."
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