A couple of months ago I highlighted the awesome effort by citizen journalism pioneer David Cohn to – through his new startup, Spot.us – fund a journalistic work by tapping a community of readers. I and others contributed to the cause, and now we have a result: Alexis Madrigal’s community-funded article on biofuels and the California energy system.

Alexis writes:

<blockquote><p>In 2000, California consumed about 60 million gallons of ethanol. That grew to 100 million gallons by 2002 and 600 million gallons by 2003, according to the California Energy Commission. In 2006, California consumed about 970 million gallons of ethanol. That’s a 1,500% increase in use of the biofuel in seven years.</p><p>Some in the energy debate say that this type of transformation is impossible. Other say radically changing our energy infrastructure is necessary. Many realists seem to suggest that both statements are true.</p></blockquote>

Read the rest for more. This is journalism you can be proud of. It's only accountable to the folks that funded it, and it's good and necessary. A taste of good things to come.