The collaboratively built encyclopedia could very accurately be thought of as public media. Content is contributed and developed entirely by volunteers. Little to no constraint on access, usually only to deal with vandalism, is enforced. As you peruse Wikipedia’s articles, whether you are doing so in a click-trance or via the common place of entries in the top fraction of search results for certain topics, notice the lack of advertising.
Mike Melanson at ReadWriteWeb has details of another aspect of Wikipedia that mirrors public media, its annual fundraising.
According to the Wikimedia Foundation, operating costs for 2010-2011 will come in at $20.4 million. Last year, the foundation received nearly a quarter million individual donations from more than 100 countries to reach its $8 million goal. This year, in addition to monetary donations the foundation is calling for readers to join in and become editors. The fundraiser itself, which the Wikimedia fundraising team has dubbed the “Fundraiser that anyone can edit”, was created in collaboration with about 1,000 volunteers.
The $16M target is just shy of twice the goal from last year. Digging into the slide deck linked in the Wikimedia Foundation’s announcement, it looks like the lion share of this year’s goal stems from operational costs and investments in the technology platform. Despite doubling the amount, the Foundation is optimistic about reaching its target based on an strong increase in individual donations. The slide deck is worth perusing if you are at all curious about how Wikimedia manages the resources it gathers from individual donors, grants and matching programs.
I have not previously donated to Wikimedia but am seriously considering it this year, on top of my usual sustaining donations to EFF and the Creative Commons. The campaign runs through January of next year, so there is time to decided and pull together some cash to do so.
Wikipedia: We Need $16 Million To Stay Free, ReadWriteWeb