Corrupt politicians, financial criminals, police misconduct: bad things happen when people with power know they aren't being watched.
The world has changed, and the news is in trouble. 30% of journalists have been laid off since 2000. The old business model isn't supporting enough journalism in the public interest.
Stories that affect us go unreported and under-reported. People who should be in jail walk free. Issues are touched, then left behind.
But it doesn't have to be this way.
Why can't we crowdfund journalists to investigate?
You should be able to directly help real journalists go after problems like Wall Street crime, crooked politicians and corrupt corporations. We are building a platform designed specifically for the challenges of making that happen.
What's needed to power investigation? More than a normal crowdfunding platform - an open, lean newsroom with a new funding model.
- Support for fundraising at the topic level (for example, crooked politicians in New York) so journalists can write in secret, sponsored by fundraising at the topical level.
- Support for journalist-level support and subscriptions that can go anywhere, so you can fund the journalists you believe in
- Fact checking, editorial support, and legal solutions.
- Awesome technology.
Partnerships with investigative nonprofits like the Center for Public Integrity ...and lots more.
If you believe in the idea that we should be able to make real investigations happen please help us and share this project.
UPDATE 2: We are proud to announce that Uncoverage will be working with Brown Moses and his team of journalists
You choose to fund a topic (like financial corruption) a journalist, or a public pitch. Many private pitches will be funded through crowdfunding at the topic and journalists levels.
Journalists with proven track records are vetted into the platform. Journalists will submit pitches to topics they want to work on. Topic editors help journalists to craft pitches and stories for the site, and work with publications to guide stories through publication and into major papers. We will work closely with freelancers, nonprofit and some for-profit news organizations.
There is no paywall. Stories produced in the public interest should be available to everyone. The stories belong to the journalists, not to us. We are here to help make them happen.
The Center for Public Integrity is going to be a launch partner, and we cannot wait to start backing some of their investigations!
We have already built a viable base product and recruited a small group of founding journalists from around the world to begin testing it with us.
OUR GOAL: Launch Our Alpha, Q1 2014
Your help will allow us to:
- Go through at least two rounds of user testing
- Finish the "Editor" role: Editors on Uncoverage control approval of stories and pitches in one or more topics. They can be paid by journalists whose stories are running through a particular topic.
- Prepare our cloud infrastructure for more traffic and prepay for bandwidth
- Build our next "secret feature" to better serve journalists and supporters. We will announce it when we launch!
- Recruit a minimum of twenty more top notch journalists with strong investigative credentials.
- Recruit strong editors for at least five of our initial topics.
- Go through legal review and edits on our Terms of Service.
- Set up our backend accounting system to handle reporting (complicated!).
- Hire at least one lead and one supporting factchecker.
- Compensate a lawyer for contract negotiations with legal insurance
If we go OVER our initial goal, the funds will roughly be distributed as outlined below.
Continued Development and Design: Once development starts, it never stops. We are continuously improving and extending what Uncoverage can do. We have some exciting new features planned for Q1 that we also need to get a head start on.
Operating and Recruitment: Every organization has operating costs. At this stage a lot of ours will have to do with bringing in and managing people to help with the nuts and bolts of a startup, such as making sure our accounts are in order, recruiting staff, and working on partnerships with other organizations that can help with the mission.
Legal & Insurance: Negotiating our legal contracts and keeping track of intellectual property is a significant ongoing cost. We expect this to expand. At this stage, we are focused on legal for the business and beginning to negotiate bigger contracts that could protect freelance writers.
Editorial: Uncoverage will continuously need great editors, on staff and freelance. As the platform gains momentum, we will need even more editors and factcheckers on staff to help.
Uncoverage is a massive endeavor. We need your support and we need allies.
Check out a sneak peek of our rewards, which include one of a kind collaborations with top international photojournalists.
Uncoverage is run by a small team of people who believe in building the future of investigative journalism.
Israel Mirsky — Founder: Israel is a leading technologist on Madison Avenue with a background in computer science, production and analytics for marketing. When not working, he's reading the news
Asie Mohtarez — Director of Business Development: Asie is a longtime program coordinator for environmental, cultural, and poverty relief initiatives. She has overseen development projects for The Rockefeller Foundation and Purpose.
Andrew Essex — Advisor: Andrew served as the Chief Executive Officer of Droga5 and is now its Vice Chairman. Before co-founding Droga5, Mr. Essex was the founding editor-in-chief of Absolute magazine, Executive editor of Details magazine, and held editorial posts at, among other publications, The New Yorker, Entertainment Weekly,Salon.com, and Interview.
Greg Kaufmann — Advisor: Greg is the poverty correspondent for The Nation and a contributor to Bill Moyers. Other work includes Moyers & Company, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris- Perry show, NPR, CBSNews, Washington Post, Common Dreams, and Alternet.
Greg Galant — Advisor: Greg is the cofounder and CEO of Sawhorse Media, a movement to make it easy to find the right people on the social web through products, including the Shorty Awards and Muckrack.com
Maha El Emam — Advisor: Maha is the Vice President of Product, UX and Technology at NBCUniversal, Inc. She was previously Head of Global Product for Bloomberg and Director of International Markets Technology for the Wall Street Journal Digital Network.
Jonathan Askin — Advisor: Jonathan is the Associate Professor of Clinical Law at Brooklyn Law School, and President and founder of the Global IP Alliance, which monitors evolving global IP-based communications.
Becky Wang — Advisor: Becky Wang serves as a business development advisor and fundraiser for Uncoverage. A former agency executive focused on strategy and big data, she now in a principal at the strategic consultancy Sunday Dinner, focused on a better way to create, produce and distribute marketing in today's consumer's landscape.
Andrea Chalupa — Advisor: Andrea has worked in media for over twelve years. She launched online viral videos for Condé Nast Portfolio and AOL Money & Finance, covering the 2008 presidential conventions, Sundance, and Ford Motor’s Scientific Research Laboratory. She writes for Big Think, voted “Best Website for News and Information for 2011” by Time.
Amanda Michel — Advisor: Amanda is the open editor for the Guardian US and a co-founder of SparkCamp. Previously she worked at ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative newsroom, and directed Huffington Post's OffTheBus, for which she was credited by New York Magazine with “crafting the genre of citizen journalism.” Before working in media, she directed Howard Dean’s youth organizing effort Generation Dean and belonged to John Kerry’s Internet team. With colleagues, she co-founded the New Organizing Institute.
Amy Schmitz Weiss — Advisor: Amy is an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Media Studies at San Diego State University. Schmitz Weiss is a 2011 Dart Academic Fellow and has a PhD in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She teaches journalism courses in basic writing and editing, multimedia, web design, data journalism, and mobile journalism.
If you are a journalist whose work demonstrates a commitment to uncovering important stories in the public interest, please reach out at email@example.com.
Roderick Boyd — Author of Fatal Risk: A Cautionary Tale of AIG’s Corporate Suicide. He is one of the 25 most feared financial reporters in America as chosen the Huffington Post, and founder of the Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation.
Sibylla Brodzinsky — Writer for The Economist and The Guardian. She has spent over 20 years writing about Latin American politics, human rights, and social issues.
Laura Rena Murray — has reported for the Center for Public Integrity, NYT, SF Weekly, and World Policy Journal on issues and events in Somalia, Cambodia, Guinea, DRC, Madagascar, Angola, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Erin Banco —Has reported on the Egyptian Spring, torture in that country's lower level prisons, and the Syrian conflict. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Newsweek, Foreign Policy, NPR, CNN, USA TODAY, The Christian Science Monitor, NOW Lebanon, The Atlantic and others. She is currently working with photographer Jake Naughton.
Jose Miguel Calatayud — Journalist for The Independent, EL PAÍS, AFP, Al Jazeera, and Der Standard. He is based in Istanbul and reporting on crisis issues in the Middle East.
Anita Woodley — Emmy award-winning reporter for CNN and NPR. She investigates breast cancer treatment issues among African American women.
Francesca Borri — the reporter for The Guardian, Columbia Journalism Review — and photojournalist Stanley Greene writer for the New York Times, will explore jihadist roots in Chechnya that are impacting Syria.