Beacon, unnamed backers pledge $3 million in matching funds for immigration reporting

A man is arrested at an immigration rally in 2010 in Washington DC. Credit: Nevele Otseog.
A man is arrested at an immigration rally in 2010 in Washington DC. Credit: Nevele Otseog.

Beacon Reader will now match up to $3 million for journalists interested in crowdfunding stories about immigration, the platform announced on their blog Thursday.

Among the first campaigns: The Nation wants to travel the country to talk and look at how immigrants shape the 2016 election and the website Fatal Encounters wants to investigate instances when police killed immigrants. Combined the two campaigns have raised more than $21,000.

So where did Beacon Reader come up with $3 million?

“We aren’t announcing specifics on our matching partners just yet, but it’s a combination of individual backers and institutional funders,” said Beacon spokeswoman Keren Goldshlager via email. “They’ve given this money to Beacon, and we’re distributing it directly to journalists who submit projects about immigration in America. As with every project on Beacon, only readers decide what gets funded — no one is charged until a project meets its goal.”

The matching funds for immigration reporting is part of a big change in the way Beacon operates, as Through the Cracks reported a few weeks back. As a result of experiments with various approaches to crowdfunding, Beacon plans to center its efforts on large issues rather than individual journalists as they move to strike more partnerships and where possible identify organizations, individuals etc. willing to offer matching funds.

“We’ll be diving into the intersection between immigration and entrepreneurship, exploring the plight of LGBT refugees and photographing items lost at the border – so stay tuned,” Beacon said in the blog post.

Last month Beacon and ProPublica teamed up to investigate the sharp decline in workers compensation benefits in states across America.

You can see all stories that are part of the Immigration Inner Circle here.

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Khari Johnson
Khari is founder and editor of Through the Cracks: Crowdfunding in Journalism. He also writes about bots and artificial intelligence for VentureBeat. He has built news startups in the U.S. and Europe for the last decade.


  1. […] The San Francisco Chronicle has become the first newspaper to crowdfund its reporting with help from the crowdfunding journalism platform Beacon, according to Poynter. The crowdfunding campaign will seek to raise $15,000 to report for a multimedia project centered on immigration in the San Francisco Bay Area, which will make it eligible for a program announced last week by Beacon to match dollar-for-dollar money crowdfunded for immigration reporting up to $3 million. […]

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