Use of crowdfunding site flags under APM, the crowdfunding website allowing journalists to raise funds for their reporting projects, has been hit by a sharp decline in usage since its acquisition by American Public Media, which has been making changes intended to revamp its business model and protect the site’s journalistic integrity in the world of online pitch funding.

Community-funded Homicide Watch partners with Sun-Times to launch Chicago website

Homicide Watch, a crowdfunded community reporting site that tracks city murder victims, will launch its third site in Chicago by the end of the month through a partnership with the Chicago Sun-Times, reports the New York Times. The startup is the brainchild of Laura and Chris Amico, who manage the site’s flagship Washington, D.C., edition. They’ve kept the site — which they started in September 2010 and most recently relaunched in August 2011 — running with help from crowdfunding campaigns on platforms like Kickstarter and Despite financial struggles, including their inability to find a local news organization to partner with, the Amicos have reaped many journalistic accolades for their data-driven reporting, including the 2012 Knight Public Service Award from the Online News Association. A second branch of Homicide Watch operates in Trenton, N.J., in partnership with The Trentonian.

Kickstarter-backed comic book will illustrate pubradio series on consciousness

The Peabody-winning pubradio program To the Best of Our Knowledge has successfully completed a $15,000 Kickstarter campaign to produce a comic book that will accompany an upcoming six-hour series. The series, Meet Your Mind: The Science of Consciousness, will air in November and December. Guests include famed brain researcher Oliver Sacks and Nobel laureates Eric Kandel and Daniel Kahneman. The comic book is intended to help illustrate Meet Your Mind. Jim Ottaviani, a writer who specializes in graphic novels about scientists, will pen the comic, and Natalie Nourigat will illustrate it.

Reporters go extra mile with funds from iCrowd

… There’s a lot of hype about crowdfunding — raising production money through a website. So far, the technique hasn’t been able to support full-time journalists, much less a beat, a substantial weekly program or a newsroom. But independent journalists, public media stations, newspapers and web startups all have had successes…

APM acquires Knight-nurtured crowdfunding site

Minnesota-based American Public Media announced Nov. 29 the future cohabitation of two new-media tools for use by public media newsrooms. APM’s Public Insight Network (PIN), which helps journalists find story topics and sources in their communities, has acquired Spot.Us, a platform for raising money to support freelance reporting. Launched in 2008, Spot.Us allows freelancers to post pitches on its website for stories they’d like to report and ask for donations to support their efforts. Spot.Us takes a 10 percent cut of the donations for its own expenses and charges news organizations to create surveys for their websites. Readers who answer the surveys get credits that they can apply to Spot.Us story pitches.