By Jessica Weiss
A new crowdfunding site wants to help journalists and nonprofits seek funding for hard-hitting investigative reporting.
Uncoverage, which plans to launch in early 2014, wants to “democratize patronage for investigative journalism.” The startup will allow site visitors to make a secure donation to journalists for coverage of specific topics or stories. Pledges can be for one-time donations or for a recurring donation that functions like a subscription.
The new initiative is being led by Israel Mirsky, a New York City-based technologist with a background in computer science, production and analytics for marketing and a passion for news. He’s joined by a diverse founding team of people in the technology, business and media fields.
Uncoverage has recruited a small group of founding journalists from around the world to begin testing the technology. But before it starts helping projects find funding, Uncoverage is itself raising money on the Crowdfunding site indiegogoto finance its alpha launch.
Once the Uncoverage platform launches, vetted journalists will be able to post their news pitches to request funding for the budget needed to deliver a completed story. Fact-checkers will verify information in the pitches, and topic editors will help craft pitches and stories to help sell the final product to news outlets. The for-profit site will take a 5 to 7 percent commission on every transaction.
Journalists will keep the copyright to their work, and Uncoverage plans to help them syndicate their stories to major national media publications. Because Uncoverage believes that “stories produced in the public interest should be available to everyone,” all stories published on the site will be free, and the site will not have a paywall.
Uncoverage recently announced a partnership with nonprofit investigative news organization the Center for Public Integrity. The Center for Public Integrity’s mission is to “serve democracy by revealing abuses of power, corruption and betrayal of public trust by powerful public and private institutions, using the tools of investigative journalism.”
Jessica Weiss, a former IJNet managing editor, is a Buenos Aires-based freelancer.
Image courtesy of Flickr user epSos.de under a Creative Commons license.
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