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One-Click Funding?

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, March 10 2010

One further note on cold hard cash money from last night's session in Manhattan that had to do with the future of the left's grassroots in the Obama era.

A question from the crowd asked just how grassroots groups can get funding these days. Demos' Ben Barber made the point that social movements depend on social capital more than capital capital. Still, money's nice. The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel namechecked ActBlue as a model that has worked on the electoral side of Democratic politics (to the tune of $122 million since 2004 and counting). KVH suggested that a similar model might work for grassroots/non-profit groups. You might also see a distributed, small-dollar model work for progressive media outlets -- in a few clicks, for example, you might drop five bucks for the Nation, Talking Points Memo, what have you. (It would, in theory, also work on the right side of the spectrum, though there's no ActBlue equivalent in conservative circles.)

It's worth keeping in mind that, as ActBlue reps will tell you, the point of ActBlue isn't to be the PayPal of progressive politics. It's to, to borrow a phrase from them, normalize the act of small-dollar online giving. It becomes something you do online -- you tweet, check Facebook, email some folks, and make a small donation to the politicians/groups/publications you support.

Reps from ActBlue, though, will also tell you that they're going to be consumed by the election through November, so don't necessarily expect something like that to come out of their shop anytime soon.

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New Media Sites in Iran Blur Lines Between Citizen Journo, Professional Journo, & Activist

In 2010, Newsweek declared Iran the “birthplace of citizen journalism.” Iranian bloggers were hailed by Westerners as “brave” for their coverage of the aftermath of the disputed 2009 election. A 40-second video of the death of Neda Agha-Soltan during an anti-government protest won a prestigious George Polk Award, the first anonymously-produced work to be so honored. And then came the 2013 study “Whither Blogestan,” which sought to explain Iran's shrinking blogosphere. Of nearly 25,000 highly active and connected blogs in 2008 and 2009, only 20 percent were still online in September 2013.

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