VoterMedia.org has applied for a $200,000 grant from the James L. Knight Foundation in the Sustainability category, which is for new economic models supporting news and information. New ways of conducting and consuming journalism require new ways of paying for it. The Knight New Challenge is open to ideas for generating revenue, as well as ways to reduce costs. Entrants publish free open-source code for others to use as well.
VoterMedia.org is led by Mark Latham. He and other volunteers are creating a new economic model for supporting pubic interest journalism in voter communities, beginning in student unions and municipalities. My hope is that once VoterMedia takes hold, it will spread to corporate governance as well.
Using the VoterMedia Internet platform, voters allocate community funds to competing media sources, primarily blogs. Although funding generally flows through governments, funds are allocated by voters, preventing those governments or incumbent politicians from controlling the media.
Allocated funds can lead media to become a more effective check and balance on the government, engaging voters, increasing accountability and reducing the risk of corruption, like the recent scandal in the city of Bell, California. Voting provides a crowd-sourced reputation system for media sources. The same model could encourage much more in-depth coverage of corporations than we currently see from sources such as ISS and Glass-Lewis, who can only spend a short amount of time on each of thousands of companies they cover because of limited resources, paid by a comparatively few number of shareowners instead of the whole community.
Please review VoterMedia’s grant application and leave feedback on the James L. Knight Foundation site in the comment field. Your suggestions can help improve the proposal, since proposals can be revised base on your feedback. Take a look at the other proposals as well and vote for your favorites. Although you must register with the Knight Foundation site to leave comments or rate proposals, the process only takes a minute or two. Like commenting on an SEC proposal, such as proxy access, your actions here could have great importance.