Journalism is expensive. As big publishers close bureaus and slash staff, they’re leaving major areas and big issues uncovered. And crowdfunding platform Beacon has been quietly picking up some slack, reports Digiday.
While the site — a sort of Kickstarter for journalism — has been largely focused on helping solo writers fund their projects since its launch a year ago, it has more recently entered the big leagues, with mainstream outlets like The Huffington Post and popular niche site TechDirt tapping the platform for funding.
The Huffington Post, for example, used Beacon last month to fund its ongoing coverage of Ferguson, Missouri. Thanks to donations from over 628 backers, The Huffington Post was able to raise over $40,000, which it used to hire a reporter to cover the Ferguson story as it unfolds over the next year. In a similar vein, TechDirt used Beacon to raise $70,000 for its coverage of the net neutrality debate.
“Media outlets swoop in to cover something and as the story fades, they leave,” said Huffington Post bureau chief Ryan Grim. “There is not single publisher that has a bottomless budget. Even Al Jazeera has to make these choices — and they pump money out of the ground.”