Agencia Pública launches project to crowdfund independent reporting in Brazil

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  • August 12, 2013

By Isabela Fraga

Investigative news agency A Pública launched on August 8 its first collective fundraising project for independent reporting projects. Using website Catarse, the goal will be to raise enough money for 10 grants of 6,000 Brazilian reais ($2,640 USD) for Brazilian journalists to conduct their own investigations, which will be selected by the project's donors.

The project, known as Reportagem Pública (Reports for All) will accept donations until Sept. 20 and is inspired by two previous rounds of the Microbolsas competition, in which Pública distributed 32,000 reais ($14,000 USD) to journalists conducting their own investigations. One of the investigations that resulted from that competition was a report on groups of death squads targeting black youths in the state of Bahía.

In an interview with the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, Marina Amaral, Pública's director, had already hinted they would work on the idea of a crowdfunding project.

The difference in this project is that, for the first time in Brazil, it will be the public who decides how the pot will be doled out. That means that all those who donate to the project will be part of the editorial committee, which will vote and determine which of the investigations presented by the participating journalists will receive the funds. 

"It is a fantastic moment for journalism. Despite the crisis in written journalism, there are many good reporters looking for new possibilities in this new era. It is time ot innovate," said Natalia Viana, a director for Pública.

Through Catarse, the goal is to raise 47,500 reais (around $21,000 USD). The rest of the funding will come from a dollar-to-dollar matching donation from Fundación Omidyar. According to the agency, the total pot of 95,000 reais (almost $40,000 USD) will be used to pay for the 10 grants of 6,000 reais, as well as to pay for an editor, a coordinator, a copy editor and the usage fee for Catarse. The total value for all compensations will be detailed on the website.

Reporters interested in registering their projects with Reportagem Pública can fill out an application  with their ideas. After the final deadline, Pública will place on its website all the registered projects, where the donors can select those to be funded.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.