Reynolds Fellow David Cohn joins forces with crowd-sourcing platform

American Public Media's Public Insight Network acquires Spot.Us

American Public Media announced yesterday that it has acquired pioneering community funding website Spot.Us, and will incorporate it into the Public Insight Network (PIN) crowd-sourcing platform. The combination lays the foundation for a networked approach to sourcing and funding high-quality journalism that will help newsrooms and journalists gather the resources and insights they need to do great reporting.

David Cohn, founder of Spot.Us, spent a year as a Reynods Fellow at RJI developing and testing new sponsorship models for the crowd-funded reporting site. At the end of the fellowship, Cohn compiled a best practices guide for community-funded reporting. Click here to read his blog on or to download his guide.

"We're delighted to see the innovative work David did as a Reynolds Fellow grow into this great partnership," said Dean Mills, dean of the Missouri School of Journalism. "And it will increase the impact of the partnership we already have with PIN, a project aimed at fostering new collaborations between citizens and journalists."

Spot.Us was founded in 2008, making this November the 3-year anniversary.  Launched by Cohn with technical help from Erik Sundelof, Spot.Us was made possible with $340,000 in seed funding from the Knight Foundation through the Knight News Challenge, an international contest to find innovative, digital ideas for delivering news and information. The Knight Foundation also supported the Public Insight Network with a grant in 2008.

Spot.Us gives the public the opportunity to fund important journalism that is then distributed by newsrooms around the country. Community members can also take surveys from site sponsors to earn credits they can use to support the stories of their choice. Spot.Us has also drawn on support from individual funders, a network of advisors, designers and developers.

For more information, contact:
Tara Schlosser, American Public Media, 651-290-1436

About Public Insight Network
Founded in 2003, American Public Media's Public Insight Network is dedicated to journalistic excellence, innovation and collaboration. PIN gives newsrooms the capacity to do smart, targeted crowd-sourcing on deadline. More than 130,000 PIN sources around the country shape news coverage at 60 partner news organizations. Sources sign up by responding to online surveys, participating in virtual and in-person forums, playing serious games and meeting PIN journalists in person. Demographic information and insights are stored in a secure, searchable database. Participating journalists query the network for knowledgeable sources, test hunches, identify trends and support production of major news projects.

Kelly Peery
Communications Coordinator
Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute

About the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute 
The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute works with citizens, journalists and researchers to strengthen democracy through better journalism. RJI seeks out the most exciting new ideas, tests them with real-world experiments, uses social science research to assess their effectiveness and delivers solutions that citizens and journalists can put to use in their own communities.

About The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, it has committed more than $100 million to its National Journalism Initiative in the United States.

About the Missouri School of Journalism
The Missouri School of Journalism, the world's first, is an international leader in journalism education. Some of the best journalists in the world have learned their profession through the Missouri Method, which provides practical hands-on training in real-world news media and strategic communication agencies. The School works with the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute to create the future of journalism and has six research centers dedicated to journalism. More than a dozen professional organizations, programs and centers are headquartered here.


About Us

The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) is a world-class center for researching and testing new models of journalism in this era of technological advances.



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