“Ocupe a Pública”: new crowdfunding from Pública Agency wants to bring the reader to the production of reports

“Remember that journalism is a matter too serious to leave only to journalists.” This phrase captures the spirit of the new crowdfunding project from Pública of Brazil. In its second endeavor into collective financing, the investigative journalism organization aims to collect 50,000 Brazilian reals to fund ten reports while allowing reader-collaborators to choose the list of topics and monitor the realization of the reports.

With the slogan, “Ocupe a Pública” (Occupy ‘Pública’), the group announced the 2015 Public Reporting Project on Thursday, Jan. 21st. It will accept donations until March 7th through the site Catarse, with suggested donations starting at 20 reals or around 7 USD.  Those who donate will become part of an editorial board that decides which investigations will be carried out during a 10-month period. The concept intends to open up a dialogue between editors, reporters and their readers.

“Together, we are going to produce reports that make a difference and build a new journalism, capable of equipping citizens with the legitimate desire to transform society and influence the direction of our country,” reads the invitation from the Pública site.

After raising funds, the group will publish a list of proposals every month and put them to a vote on the project website. After choosing the topic, the editorial board will be able to interact with reporters and closely monitor the production of the final reports. “It’s not just a donation, we want to change the relationship between the reader and the production of information,” Pública director Natália Viana highlights in the promotional video.

In 2013, the group was able to raise 59,000 reals, around 21,500 USD, from 808 partners in its first initiative. The amount was distributed between ten independent investigative report grants. A report on the arrival and dangers of private prisons in the country won the 31st Journalism Human Rights Award, in an example of the national accolades that  some of these reports have earned.

In the video below, Pública directors and reporters explain the concept behind 2015 Public Reporting. The team has also organized a list of frequently asked questions to help provide a more in-depth explanation of the project.

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.