Slate points out that over the weekend, Gawker successfully raised $200,000 to buy a video that allegedly shows Toronto Mayor Rob Ford allegedly smoking what allegedly appears to be crack. Which means that, in theory, they should be able to buy the video and post it on the internet. But there's a hitch:
As for the purchase: We are working on it. As we noted before the campaign concluded, we lost contact with the people who have custody of the video. I updated the Indiegogo campaign site yesterday morning to reiterate that there had been no movement on that front, and am repeating it here right now. You won't hear anything more from us about our attempts to get the video for some time. This will be a very delicate transaction. If the people who are in possession of the video are reading this: Please get in touch with our mutual friend, or with me at email@example.com. We did what you asked.
If the video fails to materialize, Gawker will donate the money to charity. But a sad truth of journalism is that sometimes contacts just don't come through. Some tips lead to nowhere. And if you try to explain this to people who donated tens or hundreds or even thousands of dollars to a campaign, they're likely not going to donate cash the next time something like this comes around. And if this doesn't work out, Gawker is going to be publicly humiliated. Crowdfunding just isn't a good idea for this sort of thing.
But of course, the other option isn't very appealing, either:
Social news site and meme aggregator Buzzfeed is partnering with CNN and YouTube to create a new online-video channel called “CNN BuzzFeed” that will be unveiled later today. Chief operating officer Jon Steinberg told the Wall Street Journal that BuzzFeed plans to invest a low “eight-digit sum” over two years in the video platform.
CNN and BuzzFeed? Talk about a meeting of the minds.