I don’t know whether or not it can save journalism or if it will fail. My guess is on somewhere in the middle. It will probably be a viable way to fund certain kinds of journalism in certain communities.
In many ways I find the future of journalism to be similar to the future of energy security in the U.S. There isn’t a magic energy bullet for the U.S. Instead, it will be a combination of new energy technologies to wean the U.S. off of foreign energy and hydrocarbons.
Funding journalism will be the same way. We’ll need a variety of ways to fund journalism moving forward. The monopolies of newspapers are done.
I applaud Cohn for tackling the real issue facing journalism — how to fund it. Cohn’s business model might not be the sexiest. No, he won’t become rich by doing non-profit work that is predicated on the altruism of individuals.
But I think it can work. NPR and PBS both rely on people’s contributions. But perhaps the most logical comparison is Kiva.org. Cohn has learned a lot of lessons from that successful micro-lending site.
Cohn and I talk about how he can harness some of the concepts of Kiva to keep his startup running for years to come.
Cohn and I discuss several topics:
- Why Spot.Us? What need does it meet?
- How will Spot.Us fund itself after its grant is over?
- Will Spot.Us be appearing in more cities soon?