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Best Business Experimental Model for News San Francisco 2009 - Spot.us

Let's face it: The Chronicle is on a fast track to oblivion. It publishes less and less local news, and its own Web site, SFGate, has begun sending readers to other sites for some featured stories. But San Francisco still has a seamy underside — and plenty of journalists to write about it. Some have started appearing at Spot.us, a Web site that's creating an alternative marketplace for local news. There, reporters pitch story ideas directly to readers, who can make small donations to help finance the work. Completed articles are posted on Spot.us, unless a publisher buys exclusive rights to a story and refunds the donors. On a recent visit, the site had 21 pitches with an average budget of $700. Eight pitches had been fully funded: One promises to compare San Francisco's richest and poorest Census tracts. Another will explore how the recession is affecting the local sex industry. Print newspapers like the Chron might be dying, but it seems that there's still a future for local news.

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