I enjoyed this article because Marshall breaks down how his site TPM became such a success by using his readers to help him and his staff report. When asked what type of journalism his site does, he described it as “a hybrid of traditional journalism and what we now call collaborative journalism – working with readers.”
This was previously unheard of in the journalistic community. The reporters report the news and the readers read the news – this was the only template back then. Marshall turned that on it’s head and started asking for help from his readers. He used this help to report on the Duke Cunningham bribery story in 2005. News of many of the firings were only reported locally, so readers specific to those areas had access to that information. They provided TPM with the news and TPM reported it. Marshall also used his audience to finance the growth of the operation as a whole. Their contributions totaled around $100,000 and he was able to hire a staff and rent out an office space with those funds. That really got the site running to a point where it could maintain monetary success with ads.