Is crowdfunded journalism a thing? My first experiment…

I’m getting sick of the “journalism is dying” meme. The old media factories are in trouble, sure, but I reckon journalism can do just fine without them. Stockholm Syndrome, people! So I’m going to put my money where my mouth is.

Well, your money.

I’ve just launched a Pozible crowdfunding campaign to send me to the Breakpoint and Ruxcon hacker conferences in Melbourne at the end of next week.

I won’t go into too much detail here. Just click through to the Pozible project page. All I’ll say for now is that there’s just seven days to raise $1800 more. Tight, but possible. More thoughts tonight.

[Update 2240 AEDT: Wow. Just, wow. It’s less that 17 hours since the Pozible project was launched, and it’s just passed 100% of the initial target. That means I’m definitely going to Breakpoint and Ruxcon, thanks to a raft of generous people. The project remains open until 1200 AEDT on Tuesday 22 October, though, with further funds going to the production of “Stream 2” items. See the Pozible project page for details of how that works. Thank you.]

Announcing “The 9pm Election”

Photograph of TV showing Kevin Rudd announcing the election date

Today Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced that the federal election will be on 7 September 2013. Tonight I announce that I intend to produce five episodes of The 9pm Election.

They’ll bear some passing resemblance to previous episodes of The 9pm Edict, such the episode from when the last election was called.

It is my intention to post a new episode each Friday night at 9pm AEST. Provided you cough up some money, that is, and I’ll be telling you more about that over the next 72 hours.

[Update 8 August 2013: I’ve had a busy week. The first episode will appear this weekend, probably Saturday night but maybe only Sunday. Like you care. Meanwhile, listen to Corrupted Nerds.]

I’ve recorded an announcement, which you can listen to below. But if you want all of the episodes, now and in the future, subscribe to the podcast feed, or even subscribe automatically in iTunes.

Play

If you’d like to comment on this (non-)episode, please add your comment below, or Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.

[Credits: News excerpt from ABC TV. The 9pm Edict theme by mansardian, Edict fanfare by neonaeon, all from The Freesound Project. Photograph of Stilgherrian taken 29 March 2009 by misswired, used by permission.]

Choosing my next media directions: you’re doing it, OK?

Look, I’ve been thinking about this stuff all week and I can’t decide. So over to you. Scroll down for a Proper Scientific Poll on the Internet! What media stuff would you like me to do?

I last wrote about this in January, in Five questions and no answers about my media work. Read that before proceeding if you like, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

My regular media commitments currently stand at: a weekly column for ZDNet; a twice-a-month column for CSO Online; around one column a month for Technology Spectator; and a variable number for Crikey. Add in the occasional piece elsewhere, and it looks a little like this.

Media objects produced 2011–2013

The main problem is that the base level of material isn’t high enough, and in recent months it’s started getting a little wobbly. So, how can I build on what I’ve got? And how can I have a bit more fun?

Continue reading “Choosing my next media directions: you’re doing it, OK?”

So who’s paying for me to cover Linux.conf.au 2013?

Linux.conf.au 2013 logo: click for conference websiteIt’s exactly one week until I’m meant to be in Canberra for Linux.conf.au 2013, but ZDNet Australia and TechRepublic don’t have the budget to send me. So who wants to pay for it?

Last year I wrote six articles and produced four daily podcasts. I don’t think it’s too immodest of me to say that they were well-received, and that I should cover this year’s event as well.

So, who’s going to cough up the dosh? I’ll need to have the air fares and accommodation covered, along with various minor expenses, and of course I’ll need to be paid as well. Much as I support and respect the free and open source software (FOSS) community, this media stuff is what I do to pay my bills.

I reckon there’s three ways we can do this.

  1. Another media company pays me to cover the event as a freelancer in the traditional way.
  2. I cover the event independently. I could perhaps create the Corrupted Nerds masthead for this (I wrote about that on Friday), though that seems better as the title for a security-related thing. I’d need to arrange advertisers and sponsors in the usual way, and time is short.
  3. I cover the event independently, but crowdsource the funding through Pozible or someone. This is supposed to be the future, so perhaps we could try it?

How much are we looking at? About $5000.

A flight from Sydney to Canberra on Sunday and back a few days after the conference ends — because I need to finish making media objects first, then fly, and if I’m in Canberra I’d do some other things while I was there (about $240). Transport to and from the airports (about $150) and to and from the conference venues ($250). Accommodation for the duration of the conference, ‘cos I’d cover the rest out of my own budget (between $1100 and $1400). Call it $2000.

As for what I’m paid, well, that’s flexible. Last year the podcasts and articles came to just under $3000 including GST. While that may sound relative high for one week of work, bear in mind that I was up at 5am and working until after midnight most days, and working into the weekend. I think I pulled an all-nighter in there somewhere. So you’re pretty much rooted for days afterwards. And freelancers provide their own equipment, and in theory things like paying for future holidays (what?), insurance (come again?) and so on.

Obviously we’d have to decide the exact format of the media objects — whether they’re written stories or live blogs or podcasts or photographs or whatever, or of course a mix thereof. The conference organisers will presumably post the raw recordings of the presentations, but the journalistic approach is to seek out the newsworthy stuff, to analyse and comment upon whats being presented and how it’s being received.

So all up, it’s about $5000. My task for Monday morning is to decide which method to focus on. Which do you think might be best?