Moreno: Crowdfunding could unleash a generation of media entrepreneurs

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Shortly after I started Through the Cracks last August, Carlos Moreno was one of the first people I called. We’ve worked together on something or another for years now, critiquing each other’s work and offering solutions.

We both have a consistent, deep passion for the future of journalism and telling stories. That’s why we’ve built much of Through the Cracks together.

Next in our series of quick interviews with Through the Cracks staff is Carlos

He’s a big part of everything we do at Through the Cracks. He’s also a photojournalist, a photo teacher, fashion photographer and so far as I can tell a decent human being.

Through the Cracks: Why are you a journalist or photographer or generally awesome person?

Moreno: I’m a photographer because I believe photography can be a bridge that helps a community of people, like-minded or not, understand other cultures and topics.

Most importantly, photography is a visual language, and I love that language.

Well done photography can change minds, and if you’re lucky, as a photographer, maybe even open minds and hearts to other possibilities.

Through the Cracks: Why did you decide to become a contributor to Through the Cracks?

Moreno: I decided to join Through the Cracks because like our editor [Khari Johnson] I feel that journalism in all its forms needs to be represented in a bigger way. Through the Cracks does that. It showcases projects that few, if any organizations, cover on a daily basis.

In that way Through the Cracks is special, and once Khari asked me to join I couldn’t refuse. I’m sure we’re filling a void and hope it keeps growing with time.

Through the Cracks: What are you working on right now?

Moreno: When I’m not working as the Latin America/Photo Editor at Through the Cracks I’m freelancing and finding new clients in the California-Baja California area. I also teach private photography classes and shoot fashion work as a staff photographer for Designer Studio Inc.

I have been lucky these last few years to live near the San Diego-Tijuana border. I’ve had the chance to learn about the culture, travel the region and shoot for local and national papers interested in the U.S.-Mexico border and Latin America.

As I get more familiar with the Tijuana border I would love to start a project that documents the trans-international art scene that is changing lives on both sides of the border, but at this point it’s just an idea. More to come!

Through the Cracks: What has surprised you about or captured your interest in crowdfunding journalism?

Moreno: What has surprised me so far about crowdfunding journalism is how niche oriented it is right now, not just here in the United States but all over the world.

It’s exciting to see Latin America finally have their journalists’ work seen without dependance on government support. Fascinating new ventures I’ve written about like Animal Politico in Mexico and La Silla Vacia in Colombia demonstrate this point.

They have really developed an international brand and shown the world that there is a larger voice out there ready to be heard and it’s amplified by well informed local journalists who work hard to engage their audience.

Crowdfunding is only in its infancy. I believe when the journalism community begins to feel comfortable about it and develop a better sense of how to work with the crowd, it can explode and create a renaissance of underreported stories. That’s revolutionary, interesting and amazing.

Through the Cracks: When was the last time you laughed until you cried?

Moreno: The last time I laughed until I cried was at a karaoke party in Tijuana where the group I was with all got up to dance and join me in singing the Bee Gees’ 1977 classic “Stayin’ Alive.”

Yes, with the voice and everything, haha. It was ridiculous. We had the entire bar dancing. I probably wouldn’t have gone all out if it wasn’t for my friends.

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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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