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NYT column discusses Palo Altan's freelance project

A freelancer from Palo Alto, Lindsey Hoshaw, was mentioned Saturday by New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt as an example of a journalist who is raising money to cover the expenses of reporting a story by appealing for public contributions.

Hoyt said Hoshaw has pitched her story (the giant garbage patch floating in the Pacific) to the NY Times, which has said it might pay about $700 for pictures, and more if it buys the story.

But Hoshaw needs $10,000 to travel aboard a research vessel in the Pacific. So she is seeking funds from the public via Spot.Us, a Web site where reporters appeal for donations to pay for their projects.

Hoshaw’s story has been approved by the Times’ standards editor, Hoyt said.

Hoyt’s column on Saturday looks at the pros and cons of a newspaper buying stories financed by the public.

Hoyt’s column also provides some details with the Times’ relationship with ProPublica, a nonprofit reporting service founded by Herbert and Marion Sandler of San Francisco, who made their fortune in the mortgage business and sold their companies just before the industry crashed. Hoyt said the Times did a story about the Sandlers, saying the type of mortgages they had specialized in had become the “Typhoid Mary” of the industry.

Hoyt said the Sandlers objected to the article — four corrections have been published — and still say it was an unfair and inaccurate characterization of their business practices.

Meanwhile, the Poynter Institute’s Bill Mitchell says the Times is considering the idea of creating a foundation to help cover the cost of its news-gathering.

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