Berkeley j-school hires Spot.Us founder to research online business models

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David Cohn, who launched community-funded reporting site Spot.Us in 2008, will be conducting research on economic models of online journalism publications and help to develop business products for supporting hyperlocal news sites. He’ll be working with three community sites run by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism: MissionLocal.org, OaklandNorth.net and RichmondConfidential.org. “These sites will be testing grounds for experimentation to aid in the research for building sustainable business models for small news websites,” says a press release. Cohn writes on his blog that he’ll “remain an active part of Spot.Us and in the coming weeks we should have some exciting news which will cement it as an ongoing business (elevated from a mere experiment) for at least another two years.”

Press release

BERKELEY J-SCHOOL HIRES SPOT.US FOUNDER TO RESEARCH ONLINE BUSINESS MODELS

The UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism is pleased to announce David Cohn will be joining the school as a full-time instructor under a grant from the Ford Foundation.

Cohn will be conducting research on economic models of online journalism publications and help to develop business products for supporting hyperlocal news websites. Specifically, Cohn will be working in concert with three community websites run by the school: MissionLocal.org, OaklandNorth.net and RichmondConfidential.org. These sites will be testing grounds for experimentation to aid in the research for building sustainable business models for small news websites.

Cohn is the creator Spot.Us, a nonprofit website that launched in 2008 and pioneered community funded reporting. Recently Cohn was a fellow at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri and is a frequent speaker at online journalism conferences and summits.

Spot.Us will continue its operation with Chief Technical Officer Erik Sundelof taking a larger role in its day to day operation, according to Cohn. The nonprofit is fiscally sound for the next year, and there are plans in the coming weeks to scale the organization upward.

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