People-Funded Journalism: For News Worth Paying For

News breaks. Everyone writes about it. Everyone reads about it. Interest dies down. Everyone forgets about it. People-funded journalism could change things.

Published on

Do not index
Do not index
This is a note I’d put together back in 2016. I was having a conversation with a journalist friend who explained how newsrooms worked.
I felt there could be a better system for telling stories that matter.
This is part of my Buried Notes.

The Hero We Deserve and the Hero We Need

A platform that delivers stories that matter enabling readers to follow a story to its conclusion. The platform gives journalists the means to continue research on a story that drops off the radar. They receive grants to write about the things that they and the readers care about.


  1. News breaks. Everyone writes about it. Everyone reads about it. Interest dies down. Everyone forgets about it.
  1. Journalists and publications are not incentivized to follow through to the end.
  1. Readers forget about it even though they may care.


  1. Readers subscribe to the stories they care about. Pay for it.
  1. Journalists receive grants to continue writing about a subject.

How does it work?

Platform in which journalists can choose a particular story to report on. Users can choose to support the story and provide funding for the journalist to continue following developments and report on it. It also provides the journalist tools to simplify reportage, for example, a communication channel with sources who can provide real-time updates in a manner that protects their identities if required.

Plugging the gaps in subscription-based journalism

News is broken and everyone reports on it. But after the initial enthusiasm, these stories fade away and no one really continues to report on the subject. This is primarily due to the fact that journalism today is monetized through advertising (more traffic/hits) which requires content that will be widely consumed. Subscription models allow for a publisher to continue producing high-quality content without having to worry about advertising revenue, however, it doesn’t necessarily incentivize them to continue investing in reportage of a story that interests only a subset of their users.
Through this new model, we are looking at helping individuals deeply interested in a story to support journalists keen on continued reportage.

Building? Getting Support

Worth exploring funds that support independent media or companies building products with a social angle.
I’ll try to maintain a list of resources. If you’d like to contribute, please submit via this form.


I decided to publish this note after coming across an idea on Kernal that proposed Journalism-as-a-Service - not too dissimilar to this idea. It also points to an example of this happening.
Notorious Angel Investor and Podcaster Jason Calacanis launched a GoFundMe campaign several months ago to hire a journalist to investigate the San Francisco DA, Chesa Boudin.
It's racked up some steam, raising a possible $55,000/$75,000 from more than 450 donors.

About Buried Notes
About Buried Notes
I’ve been writing and documenting my thoughts, ideas, and observations (on myriad topics) over the last decade. But I’ve never published them. Buried Notes will be where I share these raw notes, albeit with a little polishing.