Project of the Day—The Oxford American features exceptional long form journalism and essays and is usually one of those things that we end up reading cover to cover without even meaning to. Every year they put together a music issue, last year was Tennessee, this year it’ll be an exploration of the sounds of Texas. Help make that happen.
We’re excited to announce two new categories on Kickstarter: Journalism and Crafts! There have been so many amazing projects that fall under those banners in the past that we just had to give them their own categories.
“ Wouldn’t it be great for people to go through an edit? Wouldn’t that be amazing? Maybe they’ll hate it and never want to do it again, but why not go through it? Why not see what your writing would be like if you went through an edit?” —Danyel Smith on HRDCVR, the book-shaped magazine she’s creating with Elliott Wilson.
Teaching tech to journalists.
For Journalism is an online educational project designed to teach the essentials of digital production to working journalists. Each course is created by a team of developers, designers, and coders with technical skills and a passion for the news.
DIY space race?
"Have you ever dreamed of having your own spacecraft?" An inspiring piece in The Verge on the grassroots space race and the pioneering work of several Kickstarter creators.Inside an old storage warehouse in an abandoned shipyard in Copenhagen, Kristian von Bengston and Peter Madsen have been building a one-man rocket ship they intend to send on a 15-minute, parabolic trip to the edge of space and back.
Von Bengston and Madsen’s non-profit, private space agency is called Copenhagen Suborbitals, and is probably the most extreme do-it-yourself project in the world. Von Bengston is an aerospace scientist and former NASA contractor. Madsen is an engineer who founded a DIY collective that built three submarines as a hobby.
Copenhagen Suborbitals has no government grants, no investors, and no academic affiliation. Instead, they’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from ordinary people around the world who donated in exchange for a part of their dream.
Advice by/for journalism project creators via the Columbia Journalism Review.
Death in DC.
Homicide Watch is a community-driven reporting project that documents every murder in Washington, D.C.
The small team of journalists behind the platform just published their 2012 year in review. Congratulations on a difficult year of important work, which also saw the capital city’s lowest death toll in nearly fifty years.
How We Spent ItView on Kickstarter
Where does the $ go?
Tomorrow is a magazine about figuring out what’s next. After seven writers and designers were laid off simultaneously, the crew banded together to create a one-off publication with their new-found free time.
After running a successful Kickstarter project and producing the magazine, the team just posted an update on Tumblr that breaks down some of the costs. All told, it’s a daunting figure — but one that nevertheless allowed for each contributor to receive some pay for their hard work.
Well, now that (most of) the dust has settled and we’ve made a magazine, we want to show you all how we did it. Er, at least how we figured out the finances. See the full breakdown here.
Major takeaway? We set our Kickstarter ask way too low. If we had merely hit our goal ($15,000) and stopped there, we’d have lost money on this endeavor. A lot of money. As it turned out, though, with our awesome backers funding us at three times our goal, some generous sponsorship from folks like MailChimp and Flipboard, and additional online sales, we’ve been able to pay ourselves and our collaborators a little something.
After we paid our startup costs and printing and shipping fees, how’d we allocate the profits? We divided them equally among three tiers: Founder tier (for those of us who have been putting in hours and hours since June and worked ‘round the clock during the magazine production period), feature tier (for contributors who pitched in on major aspects of the design, those who reported feature-length articles, and those who did a lot of fact-checking or copy-editing), and contributor tier (for illustrators and writers of shorter articles). Then we divided the money equally among everyone in that tier and rounded down, as we’ve still got a few lingering bills to pay and want to keep a small cushion in the bank account.
It shook out to about $1,000 for each of the founders, $500 for feature contributors, and $200 for other contributors. These figures are low. We openly acknowledge that they do not reflect the amount of labor that went into making the magazine. But this was a passion project for everyone involved, and we think that shows in the final product.
We were going to do a side-by-side comparison with what the magazine would have cost had we paid fair market rates, but once we started tallying it up, we realized it was just too depressing. Also, we’re still busy mailing out Kickstarter incentives like stickers and totes. Being your own shipping and fulfillment house is no picnic, people. Many thanks for your patience! And thanks again to everyone who supported us financially. We hope you think of it as money well spent.
Dan Archer is producing a series of graphic journalism dispatches in real time.
Archer is reporting on the status of human trafficking in Nepal and publishing his new work in installments funded through Kickstarter, which he’s making available to locals on the ground as well as his audience around the world.
Since Newsmotion's Kickstarter project ended last December, the media storytelling site has published six in-depth, feature-length articles that approach journalism from a civic perspective, exploring the ins and outs of humanity's relationship with the world.
Newsmotion’s sixth published piece is written by Josh Price, who is also in the middle of producing a new documentary via Kickstarter, cpm-730, which finds him examining the community adjacent to Japan’s Fukushima power plant after the nuclear meltdown.
While the film approaches the subject through the eyes of artist Shimpei Takeda, Price’s piece for Newsmotion, entitled “The Children of Fukushima,” chronicles the altered lives of kids growing up in the post-nuclear city, who now can only go outside for three hours a day — and only with a geiger counter in hand.
Gender and justice in Bangladesh.
Kristy Crabtree comes across countless news items in her career as a journalist — but she just couldn’t let go of this story.
"Hena was 14 years old when she was whipped to death in a town outside Bangladesh’s capital city, Dhaka," writes Crabtree. "Her crime: being raped by her 40 year-old cousin."
Hena’s extra-judicial punishment was already illegal under a High Court ruling passed more than five months before her death. Yet, despite this legal protection, it remains extremely difficult for female survivors of violent crimes to achieve justice through the unofficial system of village arbitration. Hena’s case is just one particularly tragic example.
Crabtree has lived and worked in Bangladesh, established relationships with community organizers, and speaks fluent Bengali. Her new Kickstarter project will fund a major research project on women and the justice system in Bangladesh, focusing on the dynamics of small, rural communities. Backers can help bring this underreported story into the world, while receiving photos, letters, and dispatches from Crabtree in the field.
No listicles, no snarky gossip, no rehashed Twitter feuds — just one unmissable story. That’s the mission statement behind MATTER, a new online magazine of science journalism funded by more than 2,500 backers on Kickstarter.
After months of work spent editing, designing, and working out copious legal and logistical kinks, MATTER's first long-form article is live right now. A gripping and disturbing investigation of a rare and mysterious psychological disorder, “Do No Harm” explores the world of voluntary amputees — and the doctors who try to help them.
Vinyl nerds, rejoice.
iCrates is an online magazine devoted to the world of music on wax. With contributions from every wavelength of the musical spectrum, the magazine celebrates rare finds, unsung heroes, and new jams in equal measure.
The creators have produced iCrates from Berlin for the past two years, gathering contributions from across the globe to produce their web-only magazine. But given the site’s focus on vinyl culture, it only seems fitting that the digital publication would finally end up in print.
The team’s new Kickstarter project seeks the funds to produce the iCrates Annual, a high-quality print mag celebrating the past year in musical archaeology. Backers can look forward to exclusive vinyl-only mixes for supporting the project, which will sound pretty sweet — even if they’re jamming on your iPod.
Battle in the borderlands.
Reckoning at the Frontier is a photographic reflection of the ongoing Mexican drug war.
Pieced together by photojournalist Eros Hoagland over the course of seven years, the book captures a brutal conflict in northern Mexico from the perspective of civilians, federales, and the desert itself. Moving beyond the objective eye of the documentarian, Hoagland injects a cinematic sensibility to “reveal a country at war with its own ghosts.”
Hoagland’s work has appeared in the New York Times, Time magazine, and many other publications during an 18-year career — yet he’s never published a book. Hoagland hopes to change that with Reckoning at the Frontier, while sharing an intimate and complex perspective on one of the defining conflicts of Mexico’s modern history.