Planet Princeton

Packet Reporter Questioning Our Crowdsourcing Campaign Contributions

KnappThis evening I was notified that a Princeton Packet reporter is calling people asking them if they have contributed to our crowdsourcing campaign on Indiegogo or not. The reporter, Phil Curran, is calling people, including officials, to ask if they have made a contribution to the campaign or are planning to do so, and suggested it would be a conflict of interest, and that officials and businesses could influence our coverage by contributing. The reporter has not bothered to contact us.

We want to assure our readers that we are not swayed by contributions to our campaign. As we have mentioned in our campaign pitch, the Indiegogo campaign is a way to kickstart a voluntary membership model and advertising on our website. You can also think of it as a voluntary subscription model.

These are challenging times for the media as outlets seek new ways to support news gathering. News companies across the globe and in our own community have made drastic cutbacks and the quality of news people receive has suffered. We created Planet Princeton in response to that trend. Our goal is to experiment and seek new ways to both cover and fund the news. For the last three years Planet Princeton has been a labor of love, fueled by our passion for good journalism in the community’s interest. We started our campaign to ask for our readers’ help as we attempt to sustain what we do and take it to the next level. This is just one of the ways we are attempting to financially support news gathering. We are grateful to all of the members of our community who support our efforts.

So far we have received more than 100 contributions and sponsorships from individuals and local businesses. The individuals include Princeton University employees, opponents and supporters of the Dinky Station move, a politician (for a website ad sponsorship level), former officials at the local, county and state level, executives,  merchants, and nonprofit leaders. Indiegogo gives them the option of contributing by name or anonymously. We don’t even know the identities of some of the contributors.

Be assured, these contributions do not affect our coverage. We will continue to report aggressively on issues that are in the public interest in our community and to pursue investigative stories. Our readers’ support will help us do more of that, not less.

The median contribution level for our campaign so far has been $50. We have also received four business level sponsorships that entitle the contributor to an ad on our website for a month.We have raised 30 percent of our goal a week into our campaign, which ends the night before Thanksgiving.

Readers regularly pay news publications for their content in the form of monthly and annual subscriptions to websites and newspapers like the Princeton Packet. Businesses and politicians routinely take out advertisements in those publications as well. Our voluntary membership/subscription crowdsourcing campaign for Planet Princeton is no different.

If you have any questions or concerns about our campaign, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Krystal Knapp
Founding Editor
PlanetPrinceton.com

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • Taxpayer – I’m not answering for PP, but my guess is that these advertising expenses have to do with state laws that require print newspaper advertising for proposed ordinances and other official notices that the clerk’s office would normally handle. Off the top of my head, the tax collector’s office would likely have to advertise the (normally huge) list of delinquent properties list up for tax sale. There are similar legal notices required in other department as well.

  • Taxpayer

    I wonder how much ad revenue the Packet gets from local politicians
    running for office and also from advertising by the municipality
    itself. From this Princeton 2014 Budget Detail doc here
    http://www.princetonnj.gov/financial-docs/2014_Budget_e-book_detail.pdf ,
    it looks like our town budget has several line items for “Advertising
    Expenses”, its seems the Clerk’s office has a $15K “Advertising
    Expenses” budget and the Human Resources dept also has $15K advertising
    budget. In addition to those, there are various departments that each
    have their own smaller individual “advertising expenses” line items ranging between
    $35 – $1000 (each), including tax assessor, tax collector, historic
    sites, planning, zoning, Human Services, Health, Construction Code
    enforcement, Recreation, Sewer, solid waste, etc. The “advertising
    expenses” line item for Police is $2500 in this doc, and the “Parking
    Meter Maintenance” department has an advertising line item of $1200. I
    am curious about where our municipal gov “advertising expenses” dollars are
    spent?

  • Sarcasm meets Sarcasm

    Nancy Snyderman

  • ComputoJon

    SFB, I contributed to the crowdsourcing campaign, which is possibly what the article is referring to. I’m proud to sponsor causes and campaigns that clearly benefit the Princeton community, as Planet Princeton does, by providing accurate, timely, objective news coverage. — Jon Crumiller

  • SFB

    Which politician made the big sponsorship commitment?

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