There’s A Sucker Born Every Minute

I don’t remember what Susie Cagle and I were IMing about (I searched my chats using the phrase “cagle ‘fuck you’ knight” but there were just too many results to wade through) when she drew this cartoon for me.

We could have been talking about so many different improbable, silly sounding (please read in computer voice) INTERACTIVE JOURNALISM ventures that cashed in on that fatty Knight News Challenge cash then folded when the dough ran out. (Or just stagger on, like some sort of sad media buzzword zombie!)

As Susie notes today, this grant-gathering is kind of a trendy business model, though it’s not all that sustainable, unless you count the academic fellowships or speaking opps that seem to follow for many of those who ran these efforts until they could run no more. (Nice? I dunno) work if you can get it.

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4 thoughts on “There’s A Sucker Born Every Minute

  1. aboutaaron

    As with most incubators, Knight will award money to great ideas that often don’t have a plan past next week (or are often way too idyllic to begin with). It’s really the nature of Silicon Valley and tech venture at the moment – fund an idea and hope it becomes the next Facebook, Instagram, etc. It’s rather sad that money is being spent on ethereal ideas when there’s still good journalism happening out there that could use the cash. C’est la vie, I suppose. Full disclosure: I’m a journalist who programs.

    1. Eve Batey Post author

      “It’s rather sad that money is being spent on ethereal ideas when there’s still good journalism happening out there that could use the cash.” Aaron, yes! I could not agree with you more.

    2. John

      I think there is a fine line between incubating a solid, well-thought out media proposal that could have legs, and throwing money at frivolous ideas merely seizing on the moment with no clean plan, especially when the idea’s proponent has cash already.

      Case and point: a $250,000 grant by the Knight Foundation to MTV for the creation of a Fantasy Election game. Although I like the idea, there are serious problems. For one, it’s fucking MTV, they got the money to mess around with. Two, the beta, which I tried out, is confusing, too cluttered with information, and would make a non-political youth’s (the target of their project) head explode. Hell, I’m a political junkie and I found the beta incomprehensible and generally useless.

      I wonder how many independent political journalists could have been incubated with $250,000.

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