American Public Media acquires Spot.Us


American Public Media (APM) is a major producer of public radio programming, with a portfolio of programs reaching 16 million listeners via more than 800 radio stations, but it lately has been expanding its holdings outside radio. APM has now announced the acquisition of Spot.Us, a website that invites the public to fund journalism that is then distributed to newsrooms across the country.

Spot.Us fits well with APM’s existing Public Insight Network (PIN) crowd-sourcing platform. In fact, Spot.Us will now be incorporated into PIN.

“Spot.Us and PIN both believe in the power of the independent voice in journalism – from both journalists and sources, making the acquisition an ideal move,” said Joaquin Alvarado, senior vice president of digital innovation at APM. “PIN believes in the important work of Spot.Us and we will explore opportunities to continue to drive the effectiveness and relevancy of the site even further in the future.”

“We couldn’t be more excited about joining forces with the Public Insight Network to change the way journalism is both funded and reported,” said David Cohn, founder of Spot.Us. “Combined, we have a real opportunity to be a positive force, paving the way for journalism to be truly public from the ground up.”

Spot.Us was founded in 2008, making this November the three-year anniversary. Launched by David Cohn with technical help from Erik Sundelof, Spot.Us was made possible with $340,000 in seed funding from the Knight Foundation through the Knight News Challenge, an international contest to find innovative, digital ideas for delivering news and information. The Knight Foundation also supported the Public Insight Network with a grant in 2008.

Founded in 2003, PIN gives newsrooms the capacity to do smart, targeted crowd-sourcing on deadline. More than 130,000 PIN sources around the country shape news coverage at 60 partner news organizations. Sources sign up by responding to online surveys, participating in virtual and in-person forums, playing serious games and meeting PIN journalists in person. Demographic information and insights are stored in a secure, searchable database. Participating journalists query the network for knowledgeable sources, test hunches, identify trends and support production of major news projects.