What if you could pay someone to investigate specific news and report it?

You think your local water supply is polluted. But you’re getting the runaround from local officials, and you can’t get your local newspaper to look into your concerns. What do you do?

A group of journalists say they have an answer. You hire them to investigate and write about what they find.

The idea, which they are calling “community-funded journalism,” is now being tested in the San Francisco Bay area, where a new nonprofit, Spot Us, is using its Web site,, 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 the estimated reporting costs. If the money doesn’t materialize, the idea goes unreported.

Read the rest at The New York Times
(Free registration might be required.)


  1. Thanks for the note about

    We are still in the very early stages - we will have a more dynamic website in the Fall (come back when we launch).

    We hope that it helps to fund investigative journalism.

    Lots to explore!

  2. It's a very interesting idea. We will definitely be back to see how it's going. Good luck.

  3. Kelly... I just saw this blog. I would add this to my list of potential gigs, too. It would be fun!