David Cohn

David Cohn


  • Reynolds Fellow
    Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute
  • Founding Editor, Circa
  • Founder, Spot.us
Berkeley, Calif.
Project: Community funded reporting

Expand, research and test community funded reporting through Spot.Us and more.

"During the Reynolds Journalism Fellowship I worked on pushing 'community-focused sponsorships,' a new model that brings large sponsorships into the Spot.Us framework. This model unlocks sponsorship dollars when community members engage with a sponsor's message. In exchange, the community members of Spot.Us take charge of the sponsorship budget. This will further explore Spot.Us relinquishing control of the money for journalism and turning it over to the community. 

"During my fellowship in 2010-2011 we sold close to $80,000 in sponsorships with about 95 percent of that money going directly to support independent reporters.

"Also during my fellowship Spot.Us' audience shifted from being heavily West coast to more inclusive of the entire country. We've now had pitches from Wisconsin, Montana, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Kentucky, Florida and beyond. 

"At the end of the fellowship Spot.Us, working with journalism and business students, has a strong business plan that charts a way forward towards sustainability. Working with mass communication students we've also produced marketing materials to sell future sponsorships." 

In addition to organizing the Hardly Strictly Young conference, which brought together 30+ journalism oriented individuals to discuss how media can improve the information needs of communities across the country, David also began organizing the Carnival of Journalism, a monthly blog carnival with journalism bloggers from across the country participating every month to meet and write about important topics. 

David Cohn, May 16, 2011

As a technology reporter turned new media scientist, David Cohn is the founding editor and director of news at Circa, a news source that delivers news in a format "native to mobile lifestyles with an experience built for a world in motion." He is also the founder of Spot.us, a website pioneer in community-funded reporting. Cohn started Spot.Us before his fellowship. He expanded the site as part of his fellowship and worked on "community-focused sponsorships."

Cohn has written for numerous publications including Wired and The New York Times. He is a board member of NewsTrust and has participated in journalism experiments like NewsAssignment.net. 

He holds a master's degree in new media from Columbia University and a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley.