Friday Buzz: Crowdfunding on the Front Lines

How one startup turned user suggestions into a way to fund breaking news coverage. Also: event-specific terminology you should learn if you don't already know it.

As our own Rob Stott reported Thursday, the situation involving the death of an unarmed Missouri teenager at the hands of police—and, especially, the ensuing protests—has raised some serious concerns about the way police officers interact with journalists.

But there’s another story about journalism that needs to be told—and it involves crowdfunding.

The startup Beacon works to raise money for journalists and writers looking to work independently on projects. The concept has largely been used to fund larger projects (such as a net neutrality series by tech blog TechDirt), but as the story in Ferguson was breaking, Beacon put out a call for people in the area to become paid journalists and for the public to help pay for on-the-ground coverage.

The company, which launched the plan based on user feedback, got to work quickly, raising more than $3,000 in just two days—enough to pay for five days of on-the-ground reporting and even one journalist’s travel to the city.

While the situation in Ferguson probably doesn’t share any direct parallels with what your association does, Beacon’s approach of coordinating an impromptu crowdfunding campaign based on user feedback is worth keeping an eye on. It shows the power of building the infrastructure to try something daring on a dime-quick turn.

And ultimately, it empowers people to be passionate about what you represent.

Get Your Phrasing Right

Ten points if you know all the terms: Know your ESG from your BEO? Your function book from your concurrent sessions? There’s a lot of specific terminology common to the event industry, and it’s not always easy to remember.

Fortunately, event tech company Bizzabo—which, by the way, just scored $2.5 million in its latest funding round—is on top of it.

“Not only are you planning an entire event, you also have to stay current with ever-changing event lingo,” the company’s Hannah Weiner wrote this week. “Being fluent in the language of tech, food, room design, and every other little piece of an event that can come into play can be quite a challenge.”

If you need an event dictionary, check out the first and second posts in the company’s new series. You might learn something.

Other good reads

Want to improve your online community engagement? Work on your calls to action, Socious’ Joshua Paul suggests.

The death of email has been greatly exaggerated, The Atlantic Deputy Editor Alexis Madrigal argues.

Write, Forrest, write: There’s a new typewriter-style writing app for the iPad, and it’s by Tom Hanks. Really.

(Beacon screenshot)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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