September 12, 2016

One of journalism’s most prominent crowdfunding platforms announced Monday that it’s shutting down after a three-year run.

In an email to the platform’s users Monday evening with the subject line “Beacon is shutting down,” the company announced it’s “no longer accepting monies on behalf of journalists or publications,” meaning that “there will be no way to earn money through Beacon.”

The site is also canceling its active subscribers, networks of funders that support individual journalists.

In its email, Beacon didn’t specify what prompted the closure but called the website “an interesting and rewarding venture.”

We are proud of the work Beacon journalists have done, and wish you all the very best in your future endeavors.

The site’s last day is Oct. 31, according to the email.

Beacon Reader, the brainchild of journalist Dan Fletcher and his two co-founders, entrepreneurs Adrian Sanders and Dmitri Cherniak, launched in 2013 with the mission of financing independent journalists, including the longform scribe Shane Bauer.

Since then, it’s backed several high-profile journalism projects, including The Huffington Post’s $44,626 Ferguson Fellowship, The Texas Tribune’s $10,085 “Unholstered” project examining police shootings and The Nation’s $56,910 immigration reporting initiative.

Fletcher, a former managing editor at Facebook and journalist at Time, left Beacon in April 2016 to become the head of social at Vice Media. According to Fletcher’s LinkedIn bio, the company managed more than $3 million in funding for journalism and journalism brands.

Beacon gave rise to a successor venture, Chargehound, which is aimed at helping customers wage payment disputes automatically.

Beacon isn’t the first journalism crowdfunding program to come and go., an early entrant to the crowdfunding game, was shuttered by American Public Media in 2015. Contributoria, a crowdfunding platform backed by The Guardian, also folded. Byline, also a journalism crowdfunding platform, launched in 2015 and remains online.

Here’s Beacon’s full farewell email:

Effective today, Beacon is no longer accepting monies on behalf of journalists or publications. We are cancelling all active subscriptions on our site, and articles and content on the site will be made public (thus turning off the paywalls and funding buttons). This means starting from today, there will be no way to earn money through Beacon.

All monies owed to you will be paid out at the end of the month for our final payout.

Beacon’s servers will continue to run until October 31st, 2016. You will still have access to your articles and images, but all content you would like to save must be done before this date. After this date, there will be no backups or access to any content on the site, and the domain will go offline.

Since the URLs will be offline, the best way to save your content is to visit each of the articles and save the webpage. For help saving the entire contents of a webpage, please see this link for reference:

Beacon was an interesting and rewarding venture and we have you all to thank. We are proud of the work Beacon journalists have done, and wish you all the very best in your future endeavors.

Thanks again,
The Beacon Team

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Benjamin Mullin was formerly the managing editor of He also previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow,…
Benjamin Mullin

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