With newsrooms shrinking, journalists need somewhere to peddle their wares. But needs don't generally go unmet in the digital age. Enter MediaCooler.
In a Q&A with Journalism.co.uk the CEO of Media Cooler, Alison Yesilcimen, describes the site this way:
"It's an online content market place that allows professional journalists to showcase and sell features and columns to global publications."
It got me thinking about a site we featured in the InSites section of the EContent 100 issue a couple of years ago: Spot.Us. (I also wrote about it here.) MediaCooler and Spot.Us are different approaches to the same problem, but I think Spot.Us has a leg up on MediaCooler for one reason: the opinion of the masses.
Spot.Us allows reporters to pitch stories and include a budget, then individuals have the chance the fund stories they feel have merit. When the story is finished media outlets have the opportunity to buy rights to the story, with the knowledge that a community of people already found enough value in the story to fund it.
MediaCooler works the opposite way, allowing journalists to syndicate content that may or may not have already been published by posting it on the site in the hopes that a publication will purchase it. A quick look through the categories showed a rather limited range of content, but the site is still new.
The thing is, this isn't new. There are sites all over the web that aim to hook writers up with paying gigs. In some cases, like elance.com, jobs are posted and writers can bid on the ones that interest them. Constant-Content.com is more like a combination of MediaCooler and Elance.com, allowing you to commission content or search the archives.
What always intrigued me about Spot.Us was that it relied on the audience-on the intended readers-to decide which content gets produced. It will be interesting to see which model wins out, or if there is room for both in the new world of journalism.