The thinking behind that news startup I made

It’s been about a year since I launched Through the Cracks: Crowdfunding in Journalism. We’ve grown from one person with a Tumblr blog to more than a dozen writers and editors in half a dozen countries around the world.

Since the site was created I’ve done a lot of thinking about what we stand for, what’s our focus and the interesting trends we’ve seen develop while following or sifting through thousands of crowdfunding campaigns.

Here’s some of that thinking in commentary, interview or video form.

FYI: Our work has also been featured by Columbia Journalism Review, American Journalism Review, PBS MediaShift, Global Investigative Journalism Network and Nonprofit Quarterly.

What’s got me all excited about the future of journalism


In both text and my emotion, I use excitement sparingly. No unnecessary exclamation points in my life. Better to save it for times when I really mean it, but I got in the habit of using the word exciting in my work in crowdfunded journalism. Here’s why.

Revolutionizing media and the world

The ability to invest in startups with equity crowdfunding is on the rise and the ways people use this new tool continues to be used in diverse ways. In this commentary for Positive News, I take a look back at what Through the Cracks has learned from following crowdfunding campaigns and what’s to come.

Startup seeds

Part of the reason I created Through the Cracks is because in working for news startups over the years, you can be employed one day and laid off the next. Any journalist working a beat is left with a handful of projects, investigations and promising stories that never see the light of day, that need time and money to be finished. That was my initial attraction to crowdfunding. Later I better understood that those ideas can be the  seeds for startups. I talked about it with Benet Wilson of All Digitocracy.

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Innovation, not donations

In our earliest days, to remind our readers and anyone who would listen what we are and what we are not, I took a close look at the initial reasons why Through the Cracks was created. One misconception: That the site was invented to tell people which campaigns we believe are worthy of receiving money. Actually the site was made to share trends, innovation, experiments and the many ways reporters and storytellers use crowdfunding to enable journalism and bring underreported stories to light.

A go-to guide for crowdfunding journalism

Knight Digital Media Center (KDMC) profiled Through the Cracks and the thinking behind the site’s creation and called us a “go-to resource for crowdfunding in journalism.”

3 Responses to “The thinking behind that news startup I made”

  1. […] that point of view (and others spelled out over time), Through the Cracks was born one year ago […]

  2. […] kjohnsonmedia.com to see previous examples of his work. You’re going to want to check out this story to find out more about the thinking behind Through the Cracks: Crowdfunding in […]

  3. Sujay Gupta says:

    Hi Khali
    I would like to collaborate and contribute to your mission. I’m the editor of Goa’s ( in India) oldest n largest newsper n a journalist and writer for 24 years. Can u pls share your direct mail I d. Regards Sujay Gupta

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