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The News is Broken and With Your Help, We Can Fix It

Thirty percent of newsroom jobs have disappeared since 2000, and we've all experienced the resulting effect on the content of our news.

Why, if I care about an issue like financial corruption, can't I pay for journalists to investigate it and uncover new evidence?


I remember first asking myself this question in 2008, when the economy crashed around us. How could corruption on this scale have been missed? Where were the journalists (and regulators) who should have exposed these schemes before they had the opportunity to ruin millions of lives and livelihoods?

Thirty percent of newsroom jobs have disappeared since 2000, and we've all experienced the resulting effect on the content of our news. The more valuable the coverage, the more expensive it tends to be to produce, so public interest content and deep reporting are very hard to maintain when times are hard. "The press is our immune system," as Jon Stewart said at the Rally to Restore Sanity. The gradual starvation of press in the public interest is a society-level immune disease.

Every high schooler in a democratic society learns about the way the free press is meant to protect the public. It's up to the press to seek out corruption and threats to the health of the society as a whole - whether those threats come from the behavior of government or politicians, from companies and financial institutions, or the environment and our interaction with it.

The problem is that the "free press" isn't free, and the part that protects the public is lacking.When the internet democratized publishing and spread advertising revenues across a billion new venues for entertainment and attention, the dollars that paid for journalism in the public interest went from a torrent to a trickle.

Technology broke the business model for journalism, so technology is going to have to fix it. That's why we're hacking the business model for journalism in the public interest by building the online platform Uncoverage. We're going to partner with outlets, freelancers, and nonprofits like the Center for Public Integrity, to make it possible for the public to sponsor the production of journalism on topics in the public interest. Journalists and editors are signing on - folks like Franchesca Borri, a courageous journalist who has been reporting from inside Syria, Erin Banco, who is writing on the business of prisons, and Sharona Coutts, who will manage journalists working on financial corruption investigations.

[vimeo][/vimeo]

We started with the only three business models that have ever supported significant amounts of journalism in the public interest: advertising, subscription and patronage.

On Uncoverage, you can sponsor the monthly production of investigative journalism on financial corruption, or the business of prisons, or another topic that is affecting people like you. And when you fund journalists or topics, their pitches don't have to be public until they are published, so journalists can work with the secrecy they often need - a first for crowdfunding in journalism.

We've been working for eight months on the platform, and we started an Indiegogo campaign. If you believe you should be able to sponsor real journalism on the topics that matter to you, please come support us.

The news is broken. With your help - we'll fix it.

This project is part of GOOD's series Push for Good—our guide to crowdsourcing creative progress.

Articles
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

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Politics
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

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"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

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Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.

Culture

In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

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Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

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