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Sites I like: spot.us funds citizen journalism

One of the most exciting sites I’ve come across recently is spot.us, a crowdfunding platform for independent, citizen journalism. Users can submit story tips, and journalists pitch their story ideas for funding. The site hosts some excellent stories done by hardworking, independent investigative reporters. Reporters keep 90 percent of the revenue, and the rest goes to site editors. If you’re low on cash but want to participate, you can support a story of your choice at no cost through earning points by taking a survey with a spot.us sponsor.

I submitted a story idea to the site, just to try it out. The next day, one of the site editors wrote to me and gave some thoughtful feedback on my pitch, offering helpful suggestions regarding my funding target amount, the image I was using to showcase the pitch, and more. We corresponded a bit and he continued to answer my questions and concerns about making the story come to life. In the end, I didn’t use spot.us to do the story because I got assigned a very similar topic by my editor at Bed-Stuy Patch. (It was a story about Bloomberg’s new teacher tenure policies.) But I look forward to using the site in the future.

There are some fantastic stories published on the site that show why it’s work worth supporting, like this one, about the housing foreclosure crisis in Los Angeles. Not only does the piece profile particular individuals who had to struggle to keep their homes, but it also provides useful information that can help people in the future to avoid making mistakes with untrustworthy loans or unrealistic mortgages.

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