Readers, not journalists, decide what’s news with Bounties

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A BART train parked in Daly City, CA. One of the first Bounties campaigns is looking for a reporter to explore the future of BART in East Bay. Credit: Carl Nenzén Lovén.

Last week Beacon Reader launched Bounties, a service that lets readers crowdfund and choose which stories get covered.

Bounties is a “small test” and for starters Beacon is just learning how people use it, said co-founder Dan Fletcher.

“We’re trying a few ourselves and you’ll see bounties get better integrated and evolve into the fall,” he told Through the Cracks via email.

About a week or so in, Bounties has been used to crowdfund stories about angel investment in the Northwest United States, the lack of diversity in the tech industry, the school-to-prison pipeline and the best alternative to capitalism.

“We’ll extend successful bounties to our current network of reporters to start,” Fletcher said.

Once a bounty is successfully funded, story assignments will be made by Beacon Reader editors. Deadlines will be negotiated between the editor and reporter then communicated to funders, Fletcher said.

All current Bounties can be seen on Beacon Reader’s website.

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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.

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