An online fundraising effort for New Orleans freelancer Deborah Cotton met its $15,000 goal within four days. While some of the donations came from her friends and family, others came from people who have never met Cotton.
Cotton was shot while covering a parade in New Orleans on Mother’s Day. The campaign has since increased its goal to $75,000. With it, Cotton’s friends hope to “help with the enormous expense she will incur from her injuries.”
Crowdsourced journalism yielded less-than-stellar results after the Boston Marathon bombing: Reddit users identified the wrong suspects; the police asked people to stop live-tweeting from scanners. But the intersection of crowdfunding and journalism grows more interesting every day. A Gawker Indiegogo project is attempting to raise $200,000 to buy a video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking a crack pipe; it’s raised more than $132,000 so far. Planet Money raised more than enough to fund a story about the global garment trade.
Crowdfunding isn’t a perfect mechanism for all journalism projects. An attempt to buy the Tribune Company to “free the press” (ostensibly from the Koch brothers, who are interested in the company), for instance, has raised a little more than $100,000, far short of its goal to raise $660 million.