Spot.Us Italy: the project

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Federico Bo

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Apr 22, 2010, 2:44:20 PM4/22/10
to Community Funded Reporting
Ciao and thanks for your encouragement.

A very raw and quick translation of "The project" page at our site.
We'll be online saturday (www.spotus.it).


Spot.Us Usa
Spot.Us Italy wants to revive one of the most important experiences in
America in recent years in the field of journalism.

The original design was inspired Spot.Us in November 2008 in San
Francisco from an idea of the journalist David Cohn, in order to give
all citizens a means of participation in the construction and
information policy agenda in the area. This is an initiative of the
nonprofit Center for Media Change with partners such as the Annenberg
School of Communications (Los Angeles) and important contributions to
independent groups like the Knight Foundation.

Thank Spot.Us citizens of San Francisco Bay Area (and now also of
other U.S. cities) were able to fund many local surveys of various
kinds, created by professional journalists, according to high
qualitative standards.

Spot.Us Italy
Since the success of this experience, we thought it was right time
that Italy also experience this grassroot process of "information
production".
Spot.Us Italy does not want to be just a clone of big brother U.S.,
but in agreement with it, explores solutions, tools and methodologies
that adapt to the Italian context while respecting the basic
philosophy of the original project.

David Cohn says: "Journalism is a process, not a product and is a
participatory process".

We agree in full. Moreover, given the particular Italian situation, we
think that the mechanism proposed by Spot.Us permits, along with other
experiences such as those of citizen journalism, to resume "the
storytelling of reality", draw a picture of the society more truthful
and realistic that picture distorted and normalized filtering through
the media mainstream.

Spot.Us Italy wants to enable citizens, associations, groups that
organize themselves on the web, civic commitees to hear the stories,
problems, deeds and misdeeds that permeate the daily life of many of
us.
Starting from the contribution of citizens, their records and their
proposals we try to recreate the conditions to revive investigative
journalism, on the brink of extinction, through a new form of funding
"from below".
To do this, to study, to investigate, to go beyond the surface, we
call reporters, be they journalists, freelance or professionals of
"new information" as bloggers, who will be able to "adopt" an
investigation proposal
by a citizen or to propose one themself, asking not only financial aid
to citizens and to any interested newspapers.

Each investigation will be overseen by the editors of Spot.Us Italy,
to ensure a high quality standard.

The flow
1a) A person (also on behalf of associations, civic committees, online
groups) calls for an investigation on a given topic.
1b) A reporter adopts an investigation brought by a citizen or he
proposes a personal investigations, by fixing the cost necessary for
its realization (+ 20% needed to cover the cost of Paypal fees and
remuneration of the editor who will supervise the investigation).
2) The proposal is now in the step of "donation promise": the user
are expressed only a promise of funding, nothing is paid.
3a) If the cost is covered by the investigation promises, start the
step of financing itself. The users who have promised are notified by
email that it is time to fulfill the promise (of course there is no
obligation, if not moral). All the other users can offer a donation,
off course. Can be donated 5, 10, 15, 30, 50 euros per head.
3b) If a newspaper is interested in the investigation, may support
from 50% of the cost, getting the opportunity to oversee and publish a
preview.
4) If the investigation is funded, an editor will make contact with
the reporter promoter, following and spurring him during production,
inviting him to write on his blog to keep them or ask for help in the
form of information to the community Spot.Us Italy.
5) The investigation carried out is monitored and subject to editing
by the editor, when the quality is acceptable, the investigation is
published in Italy Spot.Us licensed under Creative Commons.

The company
Spot.Us Italy follows the philosophy of Spot.Us USA, is in with
contact David Cohn, the founder but is not linked to the American
project. So, not being supported, also financially, by foundations
such the Knight Foundation, we decided to adopt a corporate form for
profit.

Spot.Us Italy is committed to re-invest 70% of any profits to finance
surveys, maintenance and updating of the technological platform and IT
infrastructure and for the remuneration of employees.

We decided to accept only advertising in line with the principles of
transparency, quality and sustainability.
We are open to funding from foundations, organizations and companies
to ensure the maintenance of the principles and philosophies Spot.Us.
Publishers and newspapers that contribute to the financing
investigations, their supervision and their publication will become
"Media Partner of Spot.Us Italy.



Ours is a work in progess, an experiment that will use the suggestions
of citizens, reporters and newspapers. Our goal is to create a
community, or rather, a techno-social ecosystem gathered around three
key words: transparency, quality and participation.

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