March 29th, 2018 16:10

Crowdfunding investigative journalism series in RE to mark @ConsREv25

Bill Wendel
Bill Wendel Public Seen by 289

As described in RE2020's podcast, we're marking the 25th Anniversary of the Consumer Revolution in Real Estate (@ConsREv25) with a series of activities -- should investigative reporting be one of them?


The Boston Globe's Spotlight team, an accomplished group of investigative reporters with a track record that inspired a movie by the same name, has issued a call for proposals. Unfortunately, they're inviting "experienced journalists" rather than industry experts, to submit "proposals that investigate serious wrongdoing and abuse of power in the public or private sector." Their application process is rigorous and competition is likely to be fierce, but we can learn from their process and maybe reach the same outcome: team up with reporters and editors from The Boston Globe Spotlight Team -- or another highly respected group of investigative journalists?


At first, the Spotlight Fellowships -- $100,000 award to one selected fellow or team or as two $50,000 awards to two selected fellows or team -- may sound sizeable until one realizes that in June 2016, BLIND bidding wars in Cambridge drove sales prices $100K over asking price on one in four homes. Can we turn bidding wars or something else in the $30+ TRILLION dollar real estate industry into "the mother of all crowdfunding opportunities?" That's the April Fool's day parody we wrote four years ago today:


But it's an increasingly serious question, given the oxymoronic agency relationships that megabroker teams offer -- conflict of interest within conflicts of interest -- that turn buyers, sellers and real estate professionals into fools:


What's the best way to get investigative journalists to expose a range of issues that make real estate the "Sleeping Giant of the Consumer Movement" as asked in the tweet above? Invite comments on Twitter or below.