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Pulitzer Center Update April 7, 2010

Chicago Reader highlights Pulitzer Center and Kachingle

Michael Miner

Chicago Reader

Problem solved. Crisis averted. Revenue has finally begun to flow to Internet news sites directly from the heretofore freeloading public. Those of us who feared this day would never come can drink a glass of warm milk and get some sleep.

The scale of the profits might astonish you. To the World Security Institute's four-year-old Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, $54.95. To the veteran Center for Investigative Reporting, $20.86. To the Boulder Daily Camera, $22.45. And to the hottest site of them all, to me as a German version of Politico), $117.16.

These early returns don't establish Kachingle, launched publicly just a month ago, as the wave of the future. They do show that the Silicon Valley-based start-up can function the way Cynthia Typaldos hoped it would. Typaldos's premise is that most people will pay for the things they value that don't grow on trees, but only—this is the catch—if the method of payment is fair and easy. "Since we launched it in beta in November there hasn't been a single site failure, which is really unbelievable," she says. "The product is incredibly solid. You really have to get it right when you're dealing with money."