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Crowdfunding Could Support Civil Rights Reporting

Nieman Reports Fall09coverI have an essay in the fall 2009 Nieman Reports that is best summed up by my question which reads:

Will those marginalized by race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, age discrimination, or economic circumstance decide it is in their interest to become part of a community-supported journalism cooperative devoted to covering social justice issues?

The essay grows from an earlier interview I did with Howard Witt, then the civil rights reporter for the Chicago Tribune. In it he tells how he was amazed by the self-organizing power of the African-American blogosphere.

I argue that that power, that passion for civil rights and social justice issues can be channeled into citizen funding of a civil rights, social justice stand-alone news operation which, like ProPublica, could share its stories with other credible news organizations.

Howard Witt, has already left the civil rights beat for another job. It is the kind of beat which will be dropped by news organizations in these troubled economic times. The results will be more injustices which never come to the public’s attention.

Who can solve this issue? You can. I can. Read the essay and if you are interested in moving the idea forward, let me know via our new Center for Sustainable Journalism. As I said earlier, I do believe I sense a positive movement ready for the building. It is time to start mobilizing for the good of high quality, ethically sound journalism.

One Response to “Crowdfunding Could Support Civil Rights Reporting”

  1. Digidave Says:

    I totally agree with you Lenn – that’s the kind of thing we are working on at Spot.Us and why I think it’s an exciting time. We need to catch up again sometime soon……