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Crowdfunding and Pluralisation: Comparison Between the Coverage of the Participatory Website Spot.Us and the American Press



This chapter presents the results of a content analysis of stories published from 2008 until 2010 by Spot.Us, a news crowdfunding website, comparing the frequencies of different subjects appearing in the traditional American daily and weekly press. This was based on the works of Lynch and Peer (2002) (newspapers), and from the State of the News Media report (2008) (magazines). The goal was to verify if the crowdfunded and traditional press coverage presented substantial differences regarding content. The results show there are indeed quantitative differences between news themes on Spot.Us' coverage and that of the American newspapers and magazines. Participatory webjournalism can be seen, then, as a way of attaining multiperspectival news through pluralization of editorial subjects, as proposed by Herbert Gans (2003).
The sociality of fandom is highly visible on social networking platforms. Little has been said, however, about fandom in small, closed social networks that exist predominantly on smartphone applications, like mobile instant messaging applications WhatsApp, Telegram, and LINE. This chapter addresses this gap, as it investigates how individuals residing in Singapore participate in WhatsApp fan group chats. These fan group chats are conceptualized as private, mobile fan spaces, where mobile intimacy shapes individuals’ fan experience and therefore constitutes an important part of fan culture. The concept of mobile intimacy is helpful in understanding how fan group chats allow for communication and perceived proximity over time and space, and in grasping the significance of these chats in the social circles and daily lives of individual fans. Apart from the obvious utility of WhatsApp in interpersonal communication, findings show that individuals use fan chat groups to build personal relationships with other fans, to manage the boundaries of fandom within their everyday life, as a private archive, and as a means to negotiate their place in the fan ecology. Overall, the social practices and intimacies that arise in WhatsApp group chats constitute a crucial part of the fan experience that differ from that of other open social network platforms.
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Civic crowdfunding, or recruiting participants and collecting financial donations online for local development projects with public benefits, is an increasingly popular method for participatory e-Planning at the neighborhood scale. However, little is known about the donors' backgrounds, project involvement, or social capital outcomes. This article reports on a survey of 154 donors to ten such projects that finds that they are geographically diverse, are older and whiter than the project tracts, report some volunteering activities, and experience modest changes to social capital outcomes. The article discusses implications of the findings, such as how practitioners can ensure inclusion of diverse people and encourages participation among donors, and what future research is needed.
The article focuses on Greece and explores the extent and ways in which film production funding cultures have changed in the period 2010–2015. It maps out the hybrid modes of funding embraced by filmmakers in this period, and explores the extent to which new models, such as crowdfunding, were adopted, European co-production opportunities were more fully embraced, as well as how far traditional modes of financing such as, on the one hand, state funding, and, on the other, private, distributor-led, backing have persisted. As a country of the European periphery, and one particularly hard-hit by the recent financial crisis, Greece offers a good example of the processes of an uncertain, but also creatively productive, cultural, and financial transition. Set within the broader context of global changes led by technology, the national case study illustrates how state and private top-bottom funding initiatives have begun to co-exist with bottom-up production and dissemination processes, and how some new players have entered the scene. The patterns revealed through this exploration of the new funding cultures for film production in Greece contribute to an understanding of the impact of global economic transformations on a national level, and help us assess the effectiveness and viability of the new funding models for small markets.
Media convergence has been mapped from a variety of perspectives, with scholars tracing the impact of digital convergence, for example, on everything from texts to consumption. Yet, few have examined how the rise of a convergent media landscape is impacting funding in and across contemporary media industries. It is important to examine such a relationship, and to assess ways in which convergent characteristics of connectivity, hybridity and networked society have informed approaches to funding across media sectors. This introductory article to this special issue “Funding and Management in the Media Convergence Era” briefly outlines the approaches of the five authors. Individually, each article examines innovations in funding across a variety of different media sectors and platforms, looking across contemporary children’s television, public service broadcasting, crowdfunded news and journalism, film production in Greece, and Japanese animation. Altogether, the articles in this special issue explore the broader implications of a contemporary media culture that is more sharable, hybridized, and connected on traditional funding models.
In the United States, medical crowdfunding is an increasingly common response to overwhelming healthcare costs. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 individuals crowdfunding for health (e.g. cancer, paralysis, brain injury) on behalf of themselves or others, to better understand this new phenomenon as it informs theory on social support, identity, and privacy. First, findings suggest that crowdfunding is often a resource for both instrumental and emotional social support. Second, many crowdfunders weighed the need for support against perceived privacy risks, which is consistent with and extends privacy calculus theory. Finally, highly vulnerable self-disclosures were often reinterpreted to be empowering, which also supports and extends work on identity shift. Using crowdfunding as a context for inquiry, findings point to new theoretical frameworks to describe how users navigate needs for both privacy and support online and the often positive consequences of that negotiation for identity.
As jobs in legacy media organizations become increasingly scarce, crowdfunding has gained some momentum as a way for journalists to raise money to start their own media ventures or bolster freelance budgets. While crowdfunding is often positioned as empowering for both the journalists and donors, what is often overlooked is the amount and type of labour involved in crowdfunding. This article examines labour in crowdfunding from three vantage points: the labour involved in the campaign itself, the labour of the donors and the type of labour crowdfunding enables. This paper argues that the amount of work is akin to having a second full-time job. Moreover, having to embrace entrepreneurial techniques and market their work is something many journalists are uncomfortable with. Further, this paper examines how donors are implicated in the labour of journalism, and how journalists are hoping to “commodify” the audience. Finally, this paper addresses how crowdfunding does afford journalists agency, enabling them to work outside of legacy news structures, which many journalists find liberating.
Crowdfunding platforms, such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, have been the focus of considerable popular press news coverage in the past few years, with stories emphasizing how crowdfunding can bring indie creative projects into being through monetary contributions from several individuals online. As a method for financing small or risky artistic products unlikely to receive mainstream corporate or government support, crowdfunding has been celebrated in press coverage for “democratizing” the arts funding process. However, these same celebratory claims about crowdfunding giving everyday people a voice in bringing art into fruition eerily echo arguments in the United States by conservative groups to de-fund public arts programs. The very language crowdfunding proponents use may well fuel politicians hoping to unravel public arts funding. This article presents a critical discourse analysis of news coverage about crowdfunding, analyzing the similarities between pro-crowdfunding sentiments and anti-public arts funding advocates. An uncritical embrace of an Internet trend may threaten public funding for the arts by aligning with neoliberal ideological language.
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