The Mirror

IJR Tries Panhandling For Journalism


Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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IJR has been down and out as of late.

But maybe, hopefully that’s changing?

Painting the initiative as a way for readers to provide “feedback” to the publication, IJR is trying its hand at crowdsourcing journalism.

“We asked our readers, ‘Do you think it would be meaningful for readers to provide feedback to news publications on topics to investigate and commit reporters to covering?” says a statement that floated onto Twitter by a former employee.

The statement reveals that 91 percent of readers gave a resounding “yes” to that question.

“We want to give you a voice in what we cover at IJR,” the powers that be write on the funding page. “This is our first effort at crowd funded journalism, and we’ll be covering one of the most important issues facing our country – health care costs. Please make a small contribution if you want to see in-depth reporting on this issue.” 

For its first crack at crowdsourcing, IJR is soliciting $5K to examine why our healthcare system is so pricey.

The site puts in a positive plug for itself. “We’re decent and fair,” they write. “Our work’s goal is not intended to hurt our audience, but to inform them and facilitate the national discussion around news.”

In 2015, IJR‘s founder Bubba Atkinson was the “man changing the way you get your news,” according to The Federalist. In late 2016 he bolted to become managing editor of Axios video. The site is still run by Alex Skatell, but it’s maddening to try to find any concrete information about employees, including his name. In February, there was a mass exodus as they laid off some 15 employees.

A former employee who was pretty high up in the ranks had no clue who edits the site now.

The Mirror sought comment from Skatell. A call was not returned by press time.

Hey, if crowdsourcing works, maybe we’ll all try it.