This is website is a very interesting concept. I think a lot of people are still wondering how newspapers are going to survive in the long term. They clearly are suffering from a lack of a business model now that advertising in that medium has dried up. Spot.Us seems kind of on the right track in an attempt to do something really different that I think benefits everyone in the long run. It isn't immediately clear to me how much of the donated money an author gets, but I suspect it is as good or better than the newspapers pay. Oh and they are nonprofit and their source code (albeit Ruby, gag) is open source.
I am not affiliated with these guys at all. I just ran across their site and happen to approve of what they are doing.