Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Community Supported Journalism

by Maggie Montgomery

I have a question for you: Are you willing to pay for in-depth coverage of a public affairs or news story on the Internet and on 91.7 KAXE?

Are you willing to donate some money to support this coverage in addition to your current KAXE membership pledge?

How much would you be willing to pay for, say, a multi-week series of stories about the challenges of heating a home in northern Minnesota this winter? Or for a series about how we might fund public education in the future?

The way we consume, participate in, and pay for media is changing. News organizations across the country are looking for financial models that will keep journalism strong in an era of declining newspaper readership and declining use of traditional media, especially among young people.

KAXE, with help from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s (CPB) Public Media Innovation project, will be testing a new model for news and information programming on public radio stations and their websites in the coming year. Our idea is called Community Supported Journalism.

We’re trying to learn whether people and businesses will support specific, community-based newsgathering and pubic affairs efforts.

KAXE will be working with citizens, community journalists and citizen journalists in communities across our region to determine what stories really matter to us. Then we’ll use Northern Community Radio’s new website, http://www.northerncommunityinternet.org/, and 91.7 KAXE to bring these stories to you.

And then we’ll ask you to help us pay for them.

Your donations will pay journalists for their work and help pay an editor to work with KAXE’s staff to pull it all together.

Back in 1976, when KAXE first started, nobody knew for sure whether people would support a community radio station in rural northern Minnesota. We’re not sure if Community Supported Journalism will work either, but we’re going to try.

If you’d like to help, or if you’d like to donate to this effort, let us know!

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