Now Under the America Public Media Umbrella

David Cohn announced today that after four years up and running, his experiment in crowd-funded journalism,, is merging with American Public Media’s Public Insight Network. Day-to-day operations of will now be overseen by PIN’s Joaquin Alvarado.

Cohn tells us he’s staying on with, but his role will be largely scaled back–at least in the short term. “I’m teaching at Berkeley’s J-school this year which is more or less full time. At the moment I’m going to be a contractor or consultant with PIN helping to integrate Spot.Us into their larger system. I’ll also be advising on ways that we can scale Spot.Us up, basically explaining visions I always had for Spot.Us but lacked the resources for.

“In the future – I may come on full time at PIN – as my Berkeley gig ends in August. But that is far enough away that I can’t say for sure.” is already fully funded for the first year of the merger with PIN.

American Public Media press release after the jump:


(St. Paul, Minn.) – November 29, 2011 –American Public Media announced today that it has acquired pioneering community funding website Spot.Us, and will incorporate it into the Public Insight Network(PIN) crowd-sourcing platform. The combination lays the foundation for a networked approach to sourcing and funding high-quality journalism that will help newsrooms and journalists gather the resources and insights they need to do great reporting.

“Spot.Us and PIN both believe in the power of the independent voice in journalism – from both journalists and sources, making the acquisition an ideal move,” said Joaquin Alvarado, senior vice president of digital innovation at APM. “PIN believes in the important work of Spot.Us and we will explore opportunities to continue to drive the effectiveness and relevancy of the site even further in the future.”

“We couldn’t be more excited about joining forces with the Public Insight Network to change the way journalism is both funded and reported,” said David Cohn, founder of Spot.Us. “Combined, we have a real opportunity to be a positive force, paving the way for journalism to be truly public from the ground up.”

Spot.Us was founded in 2008, making this November the 3-year anniversary. Launched by David Cohn with technical help from Erik Sundelof, Spot.Us was made possible with $340,000 in seed funding from the Knight Foundation through the Knight News Challenge, an international contest to find innovative, digital ideas for delivering news and information. The Knight Foundation also supported the Public Insight Network with a grant in 2008.

Spot.Us gives the public the opportunity to fund important journalism that is then distributed by newsrooms around the country. Community members can also take surveys from site sponsors to earn credits they can use to support the story of their choice. Spot.Us has also drawn on support from individual funders, a network of advisors, designers and developers.

Founded in 2003, American Public Media’s Public Insight Network is dedicated to journalistic excellence, innovation and collaboration. PIN gives newsrooms the capacity to do smart, targeted crowd-sourcing on deadline. More than 130,000 PIN sources around the country shape news coverage at 60 partner news organizations. Sources sign up by responding to online surveys, participating in virtual and in-person forums, playing serious games and meeting PIN journalists in person. Demographic information and insights are stored in a secure, searchable database. Participating journalists query the network for knowledgeable sources, test hunches, identify trends and support production of major news projects.