Crowdfunding long-form journalism: Characteristics of Funded Pitches on Kickstarter Article

Jacobson, S, Marino, J. (2021). Crowdfunding long-form journalism: Characteristics of Funded Pitches on Kickstarter . 21(2), 17-44. 10.1353/jmm.2021.0002

cited authors

  • Jacobson, S; Marino, J



  • The decline in traditional revenue sources for newspapers and magazines has left journalists who want to write long-form journalism looking for—and creating—new publishing outlets. Some have turned to crowdfunding platforms, such as Kickstarter, to raise funds for passion projects. We searched for successfully funded journalism projects on Kickstarter through the end of 2018 and found 1,139, about 26 percent of which include evidence of long-form publications, which we define as in-depth written or narrative-audio content of at least one thousand words. This study analyzes characteristics of long-form project pitches that reached or exceeded their fundraising goals on Kickstarter. The results suggest that Kickstarter provides support for niche long-form projects for which traditional start-up funding might be difficult to obtain. Successful projects included magazines with regular frequencies, one-time publications, narrative podcasts, and digital and multiplatform projects focused on subjects ranging from community-based storytelling to global journalism. Each funded project resulted from an editorial vision being sold to a prospective audience, one that not only wanted but agreed to pay in advance for the kind of content the founders relayed in the online pitch. The funding followed a long-tail distribution, where 20 percent of the projects received 75 percent of the funds raised.

publication date

  • March 1, 2021

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 17

end page

  • 44


  • 21


  • 2