“Curtailing” Operations

"Funding has been impossible.", the website that documented every shooting and murder in the city for more than two years, announced today it is “curtailing” operations due to funding shortfalls. Attracting money to support the site has been “impossible,” the site’s editors said in their announcement.

We have pursued grants large and small, and investigated underwriting, partnerships and crowdsourcing, but with little success, in spite of generous and expert grant-writing support from friends and colleagues who have volunteered their time.

The democratization of distribution has not been accompanied by the democratization of support. Independent journalism seems to thrive most often when philanthropists seek journalists to fulfill their ambitions — rather than the opposite — but even the former model has been known to fail gloriously.

In the end, most of what we have accomplished has come at the expense of our volunteer staff. For some, there were more direct costs, such as filling gas tanks and maintaining equipment, while others gave more time and lost more income. The emotional toll of this work has been daunting as well, to put it mildly.

The website “has been honored with community awards and recognized with journalism and social media honors, as well as national and international media attention,” its founders noted in the post. The site’s work also coincided with a period of time in which the city’s homicide rate fell 25 percent.