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Newspryng: crowdfunding for independent journalism

posted Jul 10, 2014, 1:28 AM by Siamak Ebarhimi
A new platform aiming to foster independent journalism and collaborative writing
launched last week, with an in-built donation system to support journalists' work.
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Newspryng is a new experiment in crowdfunding for journalism, helping freelancers publish their work and get paid for it.

"I wanted to explore whether we could replicate this model with a platform which anyone could contribute to," Matthew Chapman, the editorial lead behind Newspryng,

"Where anyone with a great story can come and get published and raise money directly from the audience,”

Chapman said he had been inspired by Keith Ng, a journalist from New Zealand who earned ten times the freelance rate by self-publishing a story and asking the readers for contributions.
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"As it stands it is an untested model but I think there are a lot of people in the UK who would be willing to donate towards quality journalism," he continued.

"Traditional news organisations are having to cut back because their revenues are dipping, and journalists are a lot more stretched at traditional organisations so naturally the quality is dipping.
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"I think if you can provide this really attractive proposition that offers quality journalism and rewards the journalist for their great stories I think their could be a model for it."


Chapman sees Newspryng as a platform that will appeal to aspiring journalists, in helping to launch careers by removing the dependence on advertising, and therefore page views, as a revenue model, instead bringing the focus back to the quality of the story.

In that way, journalists could potentially make more money buy appealing for donations from the audience around specific topics, Chapman said, than by publishing stories through established news organisations.

"It is important for us to create a community and an audience which is really passionate about journalism and is able to see the potential of it," he said, as social media is "impossible to ignore" in journalism in terms of speaking to the reader and finding stories.
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The problems of verification, plagiarism and accuracy that befall social media will be safeguarded against though, said Chapman, with the ability to refund readers if an article is seen as falling short of editorial standards.
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"Journalism has been through some tough times recently with the hacking scandal so we want to put the trust back into journalism," he said, "by empowering the audience as much as possible and really engaging them in the whole process."

Other platforms to have experimented with offering readers the chance to contribute directly to a journalist's work include Niuzly and Jurnid, although the approach is still in its infancy.

The London-based founders are hoping to crowdfund the establishment of Newspryng itself, with a campaign running until 13 August.
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