Moving the Needle 2012: Kickstarter journalism and alt. approaches

This week we have been taking time to acknowledge what we think are significant achievements, advances and cool projects from the past year in the technology + journalism space for our Moving the Needle 2012. The recently published Tow Center report, "Post-industrial Journalism: Adapting to the Present," documents the collapse of the long-standing advertising subsidy, pointing out the need for new business models. Today, we look at a few new approaches:

For a few journalism projects, Kickstarter provided a means to sustain operations for a cycle. The most successful was to fund season 3 of  the podcast 99% Invisible. The project ultimately raised four times its goal, and as a result, was able to extend the season with ten additional episodes.

Another strong success was for a new podcast, DecodeDC. That effort enabled veteran NPR journalist Andrea Seabrook to become an independent producer, with the intention of freeing her work from some of the constraints which limit institutional journalism.

Finally, Homicide Watch's successful drive will fund internships for five students to practice structured database reporting and sustain reporting on an important project. While it's true that Kickstarter drives are not themselves a sustainable model for journalism, these cases show that it can be an excellent tool for measuring public interest and getting momentum.

In early December, the official launch of Matter.vc brought another way for media projects to get off the ground. A partnership between the Knight Foundation, KQED, and PRX, Matter will apply the increasingly common  start-up accelerator model to the media domain, offering cash, working space, and networking and mentoring support to teams to develop their ideas to the point of being able to draw more traditional venture investors.

So after you finish reading that Tow Center report and are full of ideas about what comes next, consider a Kickstarter project or a Matter.vc application to get them off the ground.

About the author

Joe Germuska

Chief Nerd

Joe runs Knight Lab’s technology, professional staff and student fellows. Before joining us, Joe was on the Chicago Tribune News Apps team. Also, he hosts a weekly radio show on WNUR-FM – Conference of the Birds.

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