Newsdesk.org, The San Francisco Public Press and the Knight Foundation-supported SPOT.US “crowdfunding” project are teaming up to raise $2,500 to support investigative coverage and fact-checking of San Francisco-focused election advertisements. Your micro-donation will make a difference!
* THE NEED
Help shine a light on the murky world of election advertising! The ads, mailers, and phone calls are already trickling in, but soon you’ll be deluged by a flood of innuendo, deceptive messaging and dubious facts from a variety of special-interest front organizations, pumped at you via snail-mail, e-mail, the phone, TV and radio.
Can you trust what you’re being told? Can you count on local media to make sense of it all? Sadly, no. Far more money is being spent to influence your behavior than to help you make informed decisions at the voting booth.
In fact, GradeTheNews.org found in 2004 that Bay Area TV news averaged just 1 minute 24 seconds nightly covering ballot initiatives, but ran 2 minutes 41 seconds of paid advertising for those initiatives. We can do better than that!
* THE PROJECT
To help cut through the hype, Newsdesk.org is teaming up with SPOT.US to publish a weekly investigative report on San Francisco-focused campaign advertisements, running from Labor Day through Election Day.
If you are a San Francisco voter, your pledge of $25 will help us meet our funding goal, and hire a professional reporter to provide weekly investigative coverage and fact-checking of election ads, running from Labor Day through Election Day. These reports will run for free on Newsdesk.org, and will be made available for free to any media partners who wish to use them.
Our goal is to help SF residents sort out the barrage of influence advertising, and make truly informed decisions at the voting booth — from the candidates to the ballot initiatives and propositions.
* HOW IT WORKS *
Spot.Us is raising the funds, Newsdesk.org will be producing the coverage. Microphilanthropy uses social networks to aggregate a large amount of small donations to achieve a particular funding goal. Once the funding has been raised — we’re at 10% of our target — the money will be released to the reporter tapped for the job.
* ABOUT NEWSDESK.org *
Since 2000, Newsdesk.org has led commercial mass media with groundbreaking, nonpoliticized coverage of veterans’ health care and PTSD; the 2004 presidential election and the 2003 San Francisco mayoral runoff; the energy industry in the developing world; genetically engineered agriculture, and much more. Newsdesk also is the producer of News You Might Have Missed, a unique source for important but overlooked news from around the world, published every Wednesday since February 2002.
* ABOUT THE PUBLIC PRESS *
The San Francisco Public Press is a new nonprofit local news organization whose aim is to increase the coverage of important but under-covered news topics through a daily print newspaper and the Web. The paper will stress government and private-sector accountability, consumer protection and issues of social inequality. We are developing a business model unique in the newspaper world, balancing subscription revenue with public-broadcasting-style pledges and philanthropy.