Out of beta and into the real world comes the Spot.us initiative to citizen-financed local journalism.
The Spot.us idea works as follows:
1. The public or journalists provide a tip.
2. A journalist offers to cover the story for a particular amount.
3. People then help underwrite the pursuit.
4. If an organizations wants exclusive first rights to the ide for one news cycle, they must put more than half the fund target up. If the community has already pledged more than half, the organization has to put all of the money up and refund the original donors.
5. A fact-checking editor is attached to the story and he/she gets 10 per cent of the money.
6. Eventually the piece is published freely.
The concept arose from last year's Knight News Challenge. At the moment only local stories are being pursued and the public isn't yet invited into the editing process. But that may change.