News startups more successful than other journalists on Kickstarter, Pew study finds

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News startups and journalists tied to no news organization are some of the most successful fundraiser using the Journalism category on Kickstarter, a Pew Research Center report released this week found.

The amount raised is small compared to other categories on the platform but brings to life reporting that would “likely otherwise go unnoticed or unfunded” and represents “a new, niche segment of nontraditional journalism driven in large part by public interest and motivation,” the Pew report said.

A year ago Through the Cracks published a story titled “Journalism ranks dead last on Kickstarter. Now what?” The category is still last in number of funded projects and is second to last in total money raised behind crafts, but the Pew analysis revealed some interesting thing we haven’t seen before.

Among them:

– More than 60 percent of successful campaigns started by individuals or collectives were for startups, or projects with no substantial prior history.

– Individuals and collectives make up more than 70 percent of successful campaigns, bringing in 65 percent of funds raised. Established media brought in 29 percent of funds raised.

– Campaigns for online news websites had an average of more than 90 donors, while blogs and newspapers averaged less than 30 donors.

– Travel costs were a seminal part of 38 percent of funded projects. Roughly one-third of funded campaigns were for projects in more than 60 countries outside the United States.

Based on this limited data, the most successful fundraisers appear to be online news startup initiated by an individual or collective. These campaigns are expected to make a median $6,000.

This analysis is limited to Kickstarter and therefore doesn’t take into account campaigns initiated on other crowdfunding platforms. It’s also limited to the Journalism category on Kickstarter and does not take into account photography, documentary, podcasts or other writing categories.

With the exception of a decline in 2013, the number of successful campaigns in the journalism category have increased since 2009. The number of funded campaigns were relatively flat in 2014 and 2015.

In all, $6.3 million has been raised for projects that requested $4.9 million during that time period.

In April-Dec. 2009, the journalism category brought in $49,000. In the first nine months of 2015, it brought in $1.6 million.

The Journalism category is lowest in number of funded projects, and is second lowest in proposed projects, total dollars raised (crafts is the lowest) and success rate (22 percent).

To read the full report, visit journalism.org.

 

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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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