Australian answer to Spot.Us’ ‘community-powered’ journalism gathers momentum

YouCommNews, an Australian journalism project that will use ‘crowdfunding’ to support investigations and assignments, has taken a step forward with the launch of its new website. The initiative, which is based on the model of the US site Spot.Us, will create assignments based on ideas and pitches from users and those selected will be funded by donations from members of the site’s community. The project is one of three currently in development by the Public Interest Journalism Foundation (PIJ), based at the Institute for Social Research at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne. The projects are looking at new ways to make the most of emerging technologies and new business models for journalism. The PIJ was set up last year and plans for YouCommNews have been in development since its inception. “YouCommNews is an experiment in audience driven commissioning of journalism. It is a website that brings journalists and the public together, without the necessary intervention of Big Media. People can directly commission the journalism they want to see done,” Melissa Sweet, freelance journalist and health writer and PIJ board member, told The site is currently a work in progress, but will soon begin accepting pitches from journalists and news ideas from users. The project will officially be launched in September at the New News Conference in Melbourne.


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