The science section of The New York Times contained an unusual article on Tuesday. The story about a huge floating garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean was not written by a Times reporter but by a freelance journalist whose expenses were paid by hundreds of donors in an experiment in "crowd-funded" journalism.
The travel expenses for journalist Lindsey Hoshaw's trip were raised through Spot.Us, which describes itself as a "nonprofit project to pioneer 'community funded' reporting."
Spot.Us, according to its website, allows the public to "commission investigations with tax deductible donations for important and perhaps overlooked stories.
"It's a marketplace where independent reporters, community members and news organizations can come together and collaborate," it says.
The website lists 6,000 dollars in donations for the Pacific garbage patch story from more than 100 people.
Among the listed donors are Web luminaries such as Craig Newmark, the founder of classified site Craigslist, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and others.
Spot.Us is a project of the Center for Media Change, a San Francisco-based non-profit.
(c) 2009 AFP
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