Recently, The Huffington Post took to crowdfunding for freelance journalism using Beacon Reader. The project is for the Ferguson Fellowship to ensure Ferguson, Missouri shooting receives constant coverage for the next year.
On August 9th, a police officer by the name of Darren Wilson shot and killed teenager, Michael Brown. This sparked countrywide outrage and caused riots throughout the town during the weeks followed. Although most media outlets have pulled out of the town, The Huffington Post wishes to remain there to get more information about the situation.
The description of the campaign reads, “We’re raising $40,000 in collaboration with The Huffington Post to create a new journalists on the local level. It’s called the ‘Ferguson Fellowship’ and it isn’t possible without your support.”
“For the first time, you have the power to ensure on-the-ground coverage from Ferguson remains a part of the national conversation. The first Ferguson Fellow, Mariah Stewart, has already made an impact with her coverage on Beacon. But she can do even more with training, guidance, and support from The Huffington Post.”
“Mariah’s coverage from Ferguson has already been seen on the BBC, Al Jazeera and beyond. With your support, she’ll be able to do even more with a fellowship at The Huffington Post.”
Immediately after asking the public to fund its coverage, the media outlet received a ton of criticism not only from outraged Ferguson supporters but also several media members. HuffPost Washington bureau chief Ryan Grim declared, “Sure, the criticism is fair, but we are seriously investing in it… Either it was going to be this way, or we weren’t going to be able to have someone on the ground.”
Three days prior to its deadline, the campaign met its $40,000 goal all thanks to 633 backers. On Friday (September 12th) Grim took The Huffington Post website to thank everyone who made the project successful. “Some in the media deemed the project unseemly, arguing that if we feel Ferguson is so important, we ought to hire somebody and pay them ourselves. What, after, is $40,000 for a giant company like HuffPost, owned by an even bigger company like AOL?”
“But no media company has an infinite editorial budget. And a new hire, in general, requires a tradeoff. We wanted more journalism, without reducing our political coverage elsewhere. And we knew our readers did, too.”
Stewart also thanked supporters on Thursday (September 11th) and wrote, “Not many people get to do what they love for a living. Thank you, for making that dream come true for me. Everyday that I’m in Ferguson reporting, I think about how it was made possible by such great people.”
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