What Beacon’s Failure Means for Crowdfunded Journalism

First it was Spot.Us, then Contributoria, and now Beacon. All three crowdfunding platforms specialized in helping news organizations and independent journalists raise money to support their work — but all three have shut down since the start of 2015, joining Emphas.is, Vourno, and Indie Voices as unsuccessful experiments in journalism-specific crowdfunding.

Beacon’s recent announcement that it would cease operations at the end of October came as something of a surprise, especially considering how popular the platform had become within the news industry. Since Beacon’s launch in 2013, the Texas Tribune, the Huffington Post, NJ Spotlight, PolitiFact, InvestigateWest, and dozens of other news organizations had all run successful crowdfunding campaigns on Beacon, and in 2015 alone, the platform helped journalists crowdfund more than $1.5 million.

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