Could Kickstarter Be Used To Crowdfund Journalism?

Under increasing financial pressure from the web and the decline of print advertising, newspapers and other traditional media outlets have been laying off staff and trying to fill the gap with services such as Journatic — the hyper-local aggregator that uses offshore workers — or simply doing without things like copy editors. But are there other solutions to that reporting gap? Crowdsourcing journalism through sites like Reddit could be one, but crowdfunding could be another: one journalist in Michigan has raised funding through a Kickstarter campaign so he can travel around the U.S. interviewing people about the upcoming election. Could crowdfunding allow other journalists to do investigative or in-depth projects as well?

Media blogger Jim Romenesko first called attention to the campaign by Chris Killian, a journalist from Kalamazoo who came up with the idea of driving through swing states like Iowa, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire in order to take what he calls the “pulse of the people.” On Sunday, just a few days after Romenesko’s report, Killian said he had reached his campaign goal — although it should be noted that it was not overly ambitious: he was only looking for $2,500 that he could use for living expenses, since he is planning to live and work out of his 1984 Volkswagen camper van ($2,000 of the total figure is for gas).

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