Crowdfunding in journalism as the financing model of the future: Readers want quality

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Quality content in journalism can no longer be financed - that is a common opinion. But there are alternatives. Crowdfunding, for example. Best of HR –®

Here writes for you:


Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherGerman Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


Must make money hurt?

Quality in journalism is dead. Many editors believe that readers are not interested in it. And certainly not for elaborate reports, e.g. for Eastern Europe. “Especially not when we have to spend money on it,” was the reaction of a German daily newspaper to this project, according to the Freischreiber Journalists' Association, with which three journalists have now proven the opposite. The campaign also shows very nicely the conditions under which readers are willing to pay for good reports.

I have to confess that I was a member of the group for a long time who believed that beautiful and interesting content could not be made money for me. For example, because readers are looking for quickly usable information on the Internet. Or maybe there was little unconsciously behind the German attitude "Make money hurt".

After all, I dared to start an international reportage project. More out of personal pleasure than out of conviction that you have found the great business idea. Supported by various sponsors, I have been reporting on job profiles, business and marketing ideas worldwide for over a year.

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Readers like what the author likes

What I did not expect, but I am all the more pleased: The matter arrives. The reports from all over the world are being lied to, tweeted, plagued and commented - and also from abroad.

And what I notice more and more: the readers like exactly such texts, to which I also have a strong emotional connection. Apparently, you notice it to the texts when I am with pleasure. Or if I am particularly upset about a topic.

Success is unpredictable

That changed my view of the world. And shows that success in the end is completely unpredictable. The reports from around the world are becoming more and more my unique selling proposition. He spurs me on to find even more exciting and interesting stories for my readers. And it helps me to gain new sponsors - and more advertisers.

All the more I am pleased, even if other journalists are not deterred by the common doctrines from the editorial offices - and take their research into their own hands: With the action Facingeurope.

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Crowdfunding for research in Eastern Europe

Facing Europe - that's six journalists from three nations. For one month in September, they travel in two teams through Romania and Bulgaria. They want to find out what has changed since the EU joined the two countries 2007.

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Every day, they report on their blog and on Twitter what has changed in the last few years since joining the EU - in addition to common clichés - and interrogate, among others, young conservationists, wood thieves and artists.

The project will be financed by crowdfunding - and still up to the 20.08.2012. And the premium selection and approval of the readers shows very well, under which conditions such a project can work - which exactly confirms my observation.

Crowdfunding numbers under the magnifying glass

The readers crowdfunden prevailed for such premiums to which they have an emotional connection: for example trashpostcards, what a funny idea, for 25 Euro, with 14 supporters the most popular premium. Tightly followed by the personal souvenir for 50 Euro or the personal photo.

The Dankeschön package for 100 Euro or the personal slide show for 300 Euro is also available to customers.

What is not of interest, however, are business and advertising rewards such as a workshop on mobile travel journalism, a business logo or even premium sponsorship for 1.000 euros.

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Readers want emotional identification

My thesis after this little analysis and from personal experiences: readers are interested in well-told stories about people. What interests them, however, is the personal, emotional attachment to the people in history and the possibility to identify with it.

The story must somehow provide the reader with an emotional starting point. If offered to the reader, financing can work as well.

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