For over five years, MuckRockers have been using public records and the Freedom of Information Act to tell important stories, such as documenting the arrest of reporters in Ferguson and bringing accountability and transparency to Boston’s Olympic bid. Today, we’re excited to announce MuckRock Projects, which showcase and enhance that work, while also offering a new way to fund the independent journalism that needs it most.
Projects let users collect, either privately or publicly, requests and articles that work together to tell a larger story, such as J. Patrick Brown’s look at historic FBI files, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s massive investigation into biometric surveillance.
We’ve been using Projects internally for a few weeks, and it’s made it much easier to stay on the same page with sprawling stories and to quickly get an at-a-glance view of where things stand. We can’t wait to see what you do with them.
Projects also offer a new way to fund journalism.
Since shortly after we launched, users could crowdfund money to pay for individual requests, but Projects allows setting broader funding goals to pay not just for request fees, but also the original reporting needed to help make sense of those documents. That could be a story or a series of stories, an interactive map, or any other tool that helps connect the public with information that matters to them.
Using MuckRock to launch, fund, and manage your project means your readers have an easy way to support you, and they have an easy way to follow along with your progress. Each Projects page shows all the currently public requests and their status, and we’re offering simple tools to let readers subscribe and stay in touch, getting updates as new documents come in and new stories are published.
We’re excited to kick off Projects by expanding the investigative work Beryl Lipton has done on the Private Prisons industry, raising $4,000 for request fees and by funding on the ground reporting in the towns that host the prisons themselves.
But we are just as excited to see what the endlessly creative community of MuckRockers comes up with next.
Image via Wikimedia Commons