February 27, 2013

An Invitation to Journalists

Journalists are at work in a press room

If you are a journalist, a student or an educator, the news industry's business-model problem looms over your work and aspirations.

It's a challenge and an opportunity, but wouldn't it be nice if you didn't have to deal with it at all?

In this crowd-sourced era, journalists may not need a business model so much as a platform to build community around.

Similar to, for example, the Wu Tang Clan.

Be like a band

Please consider Newsdesk available to you for free as an open, shared platform for your own work, and as a vehicle for your community-building efforts.

To create a rough analogy — record your own album, book your own tour, and build that fan base.

You can use Newsdesk.org to publish reporting, build an audience, recruit donors, crowdfund your reporting expenses, and sidestep the intense labor of building a website and getting nonprofit status from the IRS.

Newsdesk.org's free infrastructure services for journalists include:

  • 501(c)(3) status, through our fiscal sponsor Independent Arts & Media, enabling you to apply for grants and receive tax-deductible donations
  • Hosted technology services, via the Investigative News Network's Project Largo website platform.
  • A personal @newsdesk.org email address
  • Back-end website access enabling you to write, edit and publish your own content
  • A personal author/portfolio page
  • Personal and group branding options, including the use of subdomains (health.newsdesk.org, mytown.newsdesk.org, etc.)

Our goal is simple — to give you a platform for your public-interest work, with as few hangups and as little friction as possible.

We are committed to journalism's public-interest role in our democracy. As the news industry continues to go through cataclysmic change, the URL www.newsdesk.org and its resources are available to independent producers who want to explore public media online.

  • If you'd like to get involved, please fill out this short form.
  • Your questions are welcome at josh@newsdesk.org. I founded Newsdesk and now am more in the role of a steward or caretaker.

Be like a hacker

In admiration of peer-driven hacker spaces, the following guiding principles provide a useful framework for any collaborative work you pursue on Newsdesk.org:

  • Excellence. Commit to excellence and vision in your work as a journalist. Collaborate generously, respect boundaries, and cherish and care for the shared resource that this site aspires to be. This includes sharing in quality-control duties.
  • Do-ocracy. If you want it done, do it yourself! You do not need permission to publish, or to experiment with content, form, medium or practice.
  • Consensus. If something you want to do adds up to major changes to the site, including its design, character and quality, ask your peer what they think. Anything major like that would most likely require peer consensus.

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