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Community Funded Reporting

“Spot Us” is a project of the nonprofit Center for Media
that allows an individual or group to take control of
news by sharing the cost (crowdfunding) to commission freelance
journalists. Spot.Us is made possible by the Knight
Foundation. Read more.

Spot.Us won’t be ready until the Fall – but we’ve received lots of interest. So we’ve
launched a wiki to capture ideas and test the concept of
“community funded reporting” in Northern California’s Bay Area.

We are looking to partner with news organizations, freelance journalists and civic leaders in the
Bay Area. Don’t hesitate to contact us.

How does Spot.Us work?

  1. An individual or journalist creates a pitch that outlines an untold story in a local community.
  2. Members of your community vote, with their money, on what stories are most important to them.
  3. A journalist researches the facts and puts together an article. Editors provide check-and-balance
    on the story.
  4. Spot.Us publishes the story in its news feeds and works with local media outlets to have the
    articles published more widely.

Setting Up Spot.Us

setup configuration files – make any necessary edits to these if the defaults don’t work for you. Spot.Us is dependent on MySQL because it uses the rand() function.

  1. cp config/database.example.yml config/database.yml
  2. cp config/newrelic.example.yml config/newrelic.yml
  3. cp config/settings.example.yml config/settings.yml

run basic setup tasks

  1. rake db:create:all
  2. rake db:migrate

setup your local domains

Spot.Us relies on subdomain_fu to route requests to various networks. To use the site locally, you’ll need to add these entries to your /etc/hosts file. spotus.local will become the main Spot.Us site. Any subdomains you create will need to be added to the file also (in this example, we’ve added an sfbay network).

  1. sudo $EDITOR /etc/hosts
  2. Add these lines:
    1. spotus.local
    2. sfbay.spotus.local

start your local server

  1. ./script/server

Spot.Us should now be running on your computer at the URL http://spotus.local:3000

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