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Pitching you the news

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Recently, Notebook reporter Benjamin Herold reached out to the Spot.Us community to help fund the coverage of the West Philadelphia High School turnaround saga.

You, mis amigos, are very familiar with the fine work Ben produces here in this space. His stories dig deep and help the public understand what is happening at West and with the Renaissance Schools process. And that is the kind of work the Spot.Us community helps fund.

Yet, you might not be familiar with our friends at Spot.Us.

I would say they’re very cool cats that help us journos do our work and teach us a new way to pay for our work. At their site, journalists pitch stories that are vital to communities and many times are poorly covered, if at all.The ever-growing Spot.Us community comes together and chip in whatever they can towards a project they feel needs the funds.

You can help even if you’re sitting on an empty wallet.

Through sponsors, lets you earn credits when you answer a quick and innocuous survey. Later you apply those credits towards the project of your choice. The best is when these credits turn into money for your work! And thus journos can put some frijolitos en la mesa.

I know this because I am already funding my second project thanks to the support of the Spot.Us community. Last October, with the support of Marisa Treviño of, I was able to cover the federal trial and conviction of two young white men who committed a hate crime against an undocumented Mexican immigrant in Shenandoah, Pa. Starting today, I will be covering another federal trial stemming out of this case.This time three former police officers from that police department will stand trial for obstructing justice when this hate crime happened.

The decay of the old media and the spreading of the Internet in the last decade has given life to new ways of making the news. And with a rising number of Americans getting their news online, we have the chance to choose and support the news that really matter through new venues like Spot.Us.

Our friends at Spot.Us are a great and fresh help, but we need you amigos for the magic to happen.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to support Ben’s reporting through Spot.Us:

  1. Visit the Spot.Us pitch page.
  2. Click the large button that says “Free Credits” on the right. You’ll have to register/login.
  3. Take the quick questionnaire.
  4. Your account now has $5 in credits and you’ll automatically be directed to a page to confirm you want to apply the credits to our pitch. Click “Apply Credits.” Once confirmed, you’re done!
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for another survey.

You can also help us spread the word by emailing your friends or posting the link to your Facebook profile. Thanks for your support! And please let us know if you have any other creative suggestions on how we can raise support for our work.

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