Since the launch of MuckRock’s crowdfunding tools, over a thousand donors have pitched in over $50,000 to records fees for projects large and small, telling important stories across the country.
With support from the Google News Initiative, we’ll take everything we’ve learned about what works — and doesn’t — in crowdfunding to build new tools that help local newsrooms solicit direct support for the journalism that matters most to readers.
We’re tentatively calling this new project BackerTap. To start with we’ll be focusing on new ways of letting readers who show extra support for a project — whether by subscribing to its newsletter, helping crowdsource analysis of public records, or by making a donation — get rewarded with an inside look that goes beyond the story, whether that’s insights from the reporters on the beat or a look at primary source materials that didn’t make the final cut for the story.
Our goal is to create an exciting experience that rewards the most passionate news readers while creating new revenue for newsrooms that’s directly tied to the investigative and community-driven reporting they do.
We’ll also be tightly integrating these tools with the revamped DocumentCloud that we’ve been heads down working on. We’re not quite ready yet to bring on early users, but if you’re interested in learning more subscribe to the DocumentCloud and MuckRock newsletters to get the latest updates and, if you’re a newsroom, details on how to participate.
Image is a photograph of Freedom Train Donation Box via National Archives and licensed in the public domain.