Two summers ago, I dove into crowd funding. I successfully funded a journalism project, Curbing Cars: Rethinking The Way We Get Around, which looked at how Americans are changing their attitudes toward driving. Earlier this year, I published the purpose of the Kickstarter, an eBook from Forbes.
The project took a lot of planning, and there was some nail biting and cajoling as the deadline approached. To be honest, I had to dispense with my discomfort about asking friends for help, and get over my hesitancy to self-promote.
But we made it, and it turns out that Kickstarter is fast becoming a funding mechanism for other journalists. I was reminded of it this week when Molly O’Neill, the food journalist and a former colleague at The New York Times, successfully funded her project, called Little BIG Books.
Earlier this year, Kickstarter introduced a Journalism category (it’s separate from the traditional Publishing category). Another former Times colleague David Gallagher, now one of the movers and shakers at Kickstarter, sent me some stats.
- 145 journalism projects have been successfully funded so far this year.
- They’ve raised a total of $1,353,920.
- They attracted 20,572 pledges (not backers — since backers may have pledged to more than one project)
- FOIA Machine was funded in 2013, and launched an open beta this year.
- The Vancouver Observer’s Tar Sands Reporting Project was funded in January, and did lots of subsequent reporting.
- A Texas Tribune live streaming project was funded in Oct. 2013, and streamed throughout the Texas governor’s race.
- Bills & Brews, funded this year, turned out interviews with politicians in bars.
The Reynolds Center is planning to offer a workshop in 2015 with plenty of tips for planning and launching your journalism project. In the meantime, take a look at these resources if you want to start planning ahead. And just give me a call if you want to brainstorm. Crowd funding isn’t easy, but it’s bringing journalism to life.