ARTICLE: Public affairs news attract little crowdfunding

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Journalism covering non-public affairs is more likely to successfully gather crowdfunding than public affairs journalism, Nicole Ladson and Angela M. Lee, both of University of Texas at Dallas, write. The authors analysed the funding patterns of 35 “columns”, or series of stories by one journalist, published on the crowdfunding platform Byline.

The authors’ sample consisted of two constructed weeks, gathered over six months in 2016. Most of the sampled columns were coded as “public affairs” – and most were unable to reach their funding goals. Statistical analysis confirms that non-public affairs journalism attracts more supporters and larger donations.

Topic selection is not the only factor that affects crowdfunding success, Ladson and Lee discovered. Journalists based in different regions attract different numbers of supporters and different donation sums.

Offering a variety of rewards to donors will attract more of them, although it does not affect donation sizes. Still, offering more rewards appears to dramatically increase the likelihood of crowdfunding success. According to the authors, adding one reward option will increase the likelihood of success by 232 per cent. “Success” is here defined as reaching 75 per cent or more of the original crowdfunding goal.

The article “Persuading to Pay” was published by the International Journal on Media Management. It is available online on the publisher’s website (abstract free).

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