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Fewer mugshots, less naming and shaming: How editors in Cleveland are trying to build a more compassionate newsroom
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Aug. 21, 2014, 12:13 p.m.
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LINK: www.huffingtonpost.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Justin Ellis   |   August 21, 2014

The media presence in Ferguson has grown steadily as the shooting of Michael Brown gave way to protests and, later, clashes with police. But now, with some signs that the demonstrations and conflict may be waning, news organizations have to make the calculation they always make during big events: Do we dig in or move out?

The Huffington Post is trying to find a way to do both. They’re collaborating with Beacon Reader to fund an on-the-ground reporting project in Ferguson. Mariah Stewart, a resident who has been reporting on protests and journalists interactions with police, has been using the fund-a-journalist platform Beacon to help support her efforts. HuffPost wants to use Beacon to raise $40,000 for a more formalized ongoing reporting project with Stewart. The catch, of course, is that for the coverage to continue the project has to be fully funded by the crowd. A little under $5,000 has been raised with 20 days left in the fundraising period.

With the Ferguson Fellowship, as they’re calling it, The Huffington Post hopes to continue to follow the investigations into Brown’s killing and the deeper issues that fed the protests. (On someone else’s dime, of course — some reader may have questions about donating to a for-profit entity sold for $315 million just three years ago.) The funding will be used to support public records requests and skills training for Stewart. “She’ll use those skills to investigate the funding sources and uses of military gear in St. Louis County, follow efforts to reform police procedures aimed at curbing abuse and monitor the ongoing activity of local police and their unfolding relationship with the local community,” according to the project description page.

Huffington Post Washington bureau chief Ryan Grim writes:

Stewart will work directly with HuffPost’s criminal justice reporter Ryan Reilly to cover the ongoing story of Ferguson, tracking the federal investigation into the killing of Michael Brown and reporting on the empaneled grand jury. She’ll monitor the activity of the local and county police forces once the national spotlight dims, and will learn the intricacies of public records requests in an effort to divine the funding sources and uses of military gear in the county.

For Beacon, it’s another attempt to vary its funding models for journalism. Initially founded under a pay-for-one-of-our-journalists, get-access-to-all-of-their-work model, it’s since added discrete multi-author publications and now partnering with an established outlet.

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