I’m happy to unveil a new MuckRock feature tonight that we think holds a lot of potential down the road: MuckRock Assignments. Assignments are a simple way for our members to get free requests and a little recognition for the great ideas they have, while helping us improve the site experience for everyone else. The idea is simple: We’ve set up a new page where we list a number of open assignments, everything from submitting a specific type of request to helping us catch typos. When you’ve completed one of the assignments, simply e-mail us and let us know, and we deposit the rewards in your account.

Right now, there’s five different assignments to choose from, but we’ll be adding and expanding this section (as well as automating certain assignments) as time goes on. We want to reward our members for all the hard work they do, while encouraging smart, engaging requests that make a difference. We hope to use MuckRock assignments to spur widespread investigations at the local level down the road by encouraging users to focus on certain areas, whether its government spending, school safety and restaurant health, but in the meantime we’d love to hear what you think. In the near future, we’ll also start highlighting those who claim various Assignments, giving them a little taste of the spotlight while helping new members see how the best of the best operate.

Thanks as always for your support, and please let us know what you think.