Mingus the Super Dog and I took a lunch break to walk over to the hardware store. One of his favorite places (can’t you tell?) because they let dogs come in, and give them treats. He’s very well behaved. Well, MtSD and his parental units are headed up to Ashland, Oregon on Monday to get some culture at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. We’ll see how the Dog does on an extended road trip. He’s not the only one looking forward to it.
Archive for July, 2009
I’ve written about foundation funding for journalism before (in fact, it was what got me started doing this thing in the first place). But Clay Shirky’s Cato-Unbound piece (interesting choice of publication site) arguing inter alia that we’re entering “a second great age of patronage” got me thinking again about this topic.
Shirky writes: this new patronage is
“. . .either of the ‘one rich person’ model, as with Richard Mellon Scaife’s subsidy of conservative journals, or the NPR Fund Drive model, where the small core of highly involved users makes above-market-price donations to provision a universally accessible good run for revenue but not for profit.”
Your local journalism fundraiser says it’s actually got to be both at the same time – since that is what a successful nonprofit fundraising program almost always looks like. It’s a measure of just how far the new nonprofit journalism world has to yet to go, fundraising-wise, that Clay sets up a distinction where it’s actually a continuum. Of course, there are reasons for that: mainly, the way these new projects are getting started – with (relatively) big money, and little or no membership/community base. And since journalists tend to be lousy community organizers, this could be a problem.
I finished up the Stanford Professional Publishing Course (Twitter hashtag: #sppc09) magazine track last night, following a week on campus at The Farm with 60 other media folk from around the world. (I was lucky enough to get a scholarship from Amazon to pay my way; here’s the essay I wrote for the application, annotated with my alter ego color commentary.)
It’s been years (25 or so) since I’ve had the privelege of being in such internationally diverse company. About half came from countries other than the United States with Mexico and Latin America particularly well represented. Really enjoyed conversation, dinner, drinks with peeps from Uganda, Holland, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, Russia, Poland – the list goes on.
So I follow @AmandaRMichel, who runs ProPublica’s distributed reporting program, on Twitter. And I think she’s said some of the smartest stuff I’ve seen about what works, what doesn’t, when it comes to distributed or “citizen” journalism, like this CJR piece from last March about her experience with Off The Bus. The fact that she’s not a journalist, but an organizer, matters a lot, I think. Probably decisive.
After hearing her at #pdf09 a couple of weeks ago, I decided I should actually do some distributed reporting (or whatever you want to call it) myself instead of just yammering about it, so that I have at least some hands on experience at the ground level with it. I mean, how hard could it be, right?
Ever have one of those days where, midway through, you realize, oh yeah, I shoulda spent it mostly like this:
That big writing project?
Anyway. One more thing to do tonight, and that’ll be that.
Tomorrow I’m headed down to #sppc09 at The Farm. Pretty amazing collection of people attending. More from that, later on.
First things first: the main generator/switch at MotherJones.com’s Seattle “carrier hotel” (aka server farm) failed early this morning, which resulted in a fire, which triggered the sprinkler system, which took our site (and several others) off line. No indication of when it’ll be back up; we’re actively looking at a Plan B fix (if anyone has ideas for a quick solution, let me know). Silver lining, I guess: it’s happening over a low traffic holiday weekend.
That also means no Friday cat blogging from Kevin, no frog blogging from the MoJo interns. (It also means you can’t get a look at the digital version of the new issue of Mother Jones, which has a totally kick-ass special package, “Wasted,” on the failure of the War on Drugs (so go buy a hard copy over the weekend).