Crowdfunder Spot.Us has reportedly ‘dwindled’ under APM ownership

By Dru Sefton

The momentum of journalism crowdfunding project Spot.Us has “dwindled” since its acquisition by American Public Media’s Public Insight Network, according to a report on MediaShift.

Marianne McCarthy, who just completed a 14-month research project on crowdfunding, writes that Spot.Us under its original founder, David Cohn, supplied more than $120,000 in funding for various news projects last year. This year, under APM, that figure is $7,000, and the rate of projects achieving successful funding fell from 98 percent to 37 percent.

Linda Fantin, director of Network Journalism and Innovation at American Public Media, “attributed the lack of activity to tougher vetting procedures and an ‘explosion in the crowdfunding space,'” McCarthy writes.

APM is repositioning the site to provide a more financially sustainable model, McCarthy notes. “Earning a meager 10 percent of donations, the site needs to bring in much more than $120,000 in funding to become a financially stable business.”

Current took an in-depth look at journalism crowdfunding in March that included APM’s acquisition of Spot.Us. Back then, Mike Reszler, APM’s v.p. of digital media and overseer of Spot.us, expected it to expand beyond text-based reporting into radio and video. “The big challenge with TV in particular, but also to some degree radio, is the cost of the projects can be substantially more than a traditional print piece.” The average project funded through Spot.us costs around $1,000, Cohn told Current  in March; back then, the average donor gave about $80 to projects on the site.

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