Crowd-funding websites give people the opportunity to back their favorite artists or causes with a small online donation. Now, that model is being applied to journalism, through the Blank Spot Project. It was recently founded by a number of editors, photo editors, photographers, investigative journalists, digital developers and reporters, including Schibbye.
Schibbye told Radio Sweden: “I spent 438 days in jail in Ethiopia for doing my job as a reporter, investigating a human rights story. I guess that’s where the Blank Spot Project started.”
“When I came out of prison, I came out to a new media reality. I could see the media houses where going through a major crisis and editors were cutting down… One of the most expensive things to do is to have foreign correspondence, to have boots on the ground, to have photographers and writers giving people a voice, trying to figure out who is lying and who is telling the truth. Real investigative reporting, using your feet and not just Google. That comes with a price.”
At the same time, Schibbye insists there is great interest in foreign news and so he and his colleagues decided to try this novel way of funding investigative, international reporting by Swedish journalists for a Swedish audience.