Grasswire launches crowdfunding initiative, warns of potential shutdown

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8414897_1453253640.9342Grasswire, the startup news organization focused on fact-checking and verifying aggregated media and reports, launched a crowdfunding initiative this week as part of a last-ditch effort to keep the site operating.

Volunteers with the company wrote in a post published Wednesday morning that the site needs around $1,200 a month to continue operating, citing costs associated with renting bandwidth and server space.

“If we don’t raise $1,200 by March 1, our website will close down for good,” the post read. “We don’t want that to happen.”

Grasswire was launched in 2014 by Austen Allred, a software developer based just outside Salt Lake City. In its infancy, the site existed as a community-powered platform where users fact-checked and verified material and reports published primarily to social media by adding them to Grasswire’s main website, then voting on material in a Reddit-style fashion.

The site shifted gears in the middle of 2015 when it developed its open newsroom initiative, bringing an overhaul of its website and hiring two staff managing editors to focus on publishing global news based on grassroots interest and verified media.

Last month, Grasswire’s paid staffers were laid off after the service failed to secure a new round of funding from an unnamed investment partner, Allred wrote in a blog post last week. Grasswire’s community, including some former employees, continue to publish news content to the website.

Grasswire’s crowdfunding initiative to keep the site open is being hosted on GoFundMe. As of Wednesday morning the company had raised $100 of its $1,200 goal.

Disclosure: The author of this story was employed as Grasswire’s domestic managing editor until December 2015.