Podcast: David Cohn discusses Spot.Us and community funding

David Cohn launched his new community-funded journalism project, Spot.Us, last week to much fan fare.

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?

Click here to stream the interview. Or download the MP3.

Conversations in Media: David Cohn on Spot.Us

David Cohn discusses his latest project, Spot.Us, which was made possible by a Knight News Challenge grant.

Some of the things we discuss:

  1. What is Spot.Us and what will it mean for journalism?
  2. Why people should apply for Knight News Challenge grants?
  3. How hard is it to apply for a grant from Knight?

Click here to stream the interview. Or you can download the mp3.

I’m still having some problems with the Marantz PMD 660 for phone interviews. I had to amplify this interview and my voice comes in much softer than David’s. Any suggestions for better phone recordings would be most welcome.