There’s been a lot of talk about money since we started Local News Port Talbot – or, more specifically – how to get some.
We’ve knocked on a few doors for more traditional kinds of funding, including grant funding like the Big Lottery Fund. No luck there, so far. We’ve hinted broadly to anybody who’ll listen that we’re open to donations by generous philanthropists. Again, nothing doing. Advertising hasn’t come knocking either. It’s looking increasingly like we’ll have to move the boulder by ourselves.
Martin Moore from the Media Standards Trust has been enthusing about alternative funding models for some time now, and we’ve got to the point where we’re starting to think he might actually have something.
One of the ideas he’s pushed our way is spot.us, an American website that offers a way for journalists to propose a story they’d like to cover, and give a price for carrying out the work – so-called community reporting. Members of the public can donate cash towards the total, and the story is written when the total is reached.
Another idea already popular with bloggers is Addiply, which facilitates all the messy back-end stuff of website advertising, like taking payments and uploading adverts.
There are plenty more, I’m sure – and I’ll no doubt blog them as I find them.
But all that talk has got me thinking. I’ve seen Local Exchange Trading Schemes (LETS) such as Severn LETS, a scheme that allows people to barter for goods and services using a local currency. It seems to me it’s about celebrating the skills of a community while keeping wealth in the local economy.
Those are the kinds of concepts we’ve been bandying about for a while in LNPT, and now I wonder whether a local news service could have a place in such a scheme. If there isn’t one in existence, perhaps we could even establish one.
Journalists reporting on council meetings in return for a basket of vegetables or a fancy haircut. Just imagine.