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Andrew Russo

How Should Journalists Be Paid in The Digital Age?

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Journalism is in a state of flux. Traditional newspapers are in decline, Millennial-centric sites like BuzzFeed are actually making a profit and sponsored content is now the norm.

Writer compensation is constantly evolving, too. What’s a fair salary for a digital journalist these days? There are plenty of payment methods out there. Gawker famously tried the pay-per-pageview model. Writers went overboard with galleries and articles on celebrity sex scandals, and realizing that pageviews were too easy to inflate, the experiment ultimately ended. They now base their goals on unique visitors attracted. Other sites, like Complex, pay their writers based on overall percentage of company revenue, among other metrics.

10,000 Words recently spoke (via email) to Coates Batemanthe executive director of digital programming strategy at Forbes Media, about the conundrum of how to pay digital journalists. The first thing Bateman told us was that Forbes has never used the pay-per-pageview model. What asked what he thought of this type of payment, he replied: ”We cannot speak for others. Our model is about individual experts building audiences and communities around their knowledge. That is why we choose to compensate based on unique visitors.”

The assumption that basic journalistic standards go out the window when clickability is king isn’t necessarily true, Bateman says. Read more

Discover Is Looking For Multimedia Pitches

Discover

Discover magazine is on the hunt for freelancers. The monthly has recently undergone some transformations (relocating their headquarters, changing up their editorial staff) and are looking for pitches on technology, physics, chemistry and other sciences.

With 95 percent of the pub’s content generated by freelancers, editor-in-chief Stephen C. George says that he needs writers for several media platforms:

Discover seeks pitches for its website, especially for “The Crux” and “Visual Science” (stories on images and video). Editors are also looking for “great multimedia content that we can put online or in digital editions,” said George.

Furthermore, Discover recently made a foray into long-form, digital eBook singles. The series is called In Depth and stories are available as Kindle Singles. The editorial team had a goal of two long-form digitals for 2013 and “mission accomplished,” said George. As a result, “we are actively looking for longer-form stories,” he said. A bonus is that Discover shares a percentage of the sales of its Kindle Singles with its writers.

For editors’ contact info and more details on how to get published, read: How To Pitch: Discover.

– Aneya Fernando

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Why Listicles Are Here to Stay

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Listicles, or articles in list form, have been around for decades. Traditional magazines like Cosmopolitan have had them on their cover for years (aka: “10 Sexiest Things To Do With Your Man Tonight!”)

But the resurgence of the listicle online really found its home on BuzzFeed. The news aggregator and youth-centric site is the most famous example of the listicle done right. Peruse the site and you will find thousands of lists on any subject you can think of. Most are humorous, some are enraging, others, uplifting. Take ”21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity,” an inspiring collection of photographs that has been viewed over 14 million times. They know what they’re doing, and they do it well.  Although BuzzFeed was once known as the silly home of cat memes, it now also focuses on international news and politics. A U.S. Senator recently caused quite a stir by creating his own listicle: ”11 Reasons Why Congress Needs to Fix Student Loan Rates Now,” mixing D.C. policy decisions with images and GIFs.

BuzzFeed’s editorial director Jack Shepherd recently told 10,000 Words via email about what makes listicles so attractive to his millions of readers. But first, he had a few things to say about the word itself. Read more

Are Personal Essays the Future of Digital Journalism?

personalessaysPersonal essays have never been more popular online. Sarah Hepola, Salon.com’s personal essay editor, thinks she knows why: “People have always been drawn to personal narratives. It’s one of the fundamentals of storytelling: Through your story, I better understand my own. As human beings, we like to see others fail and hurt and triumph.”

It’s not just random blogs that publish these confessional articles anymore. Digital (and some traditional) news sites are getting in on it too. Salon is a perfect example of such a site. Since its inception in 1995, it has gained a reputation for being a reputable source of information about news, politics, pop culture and everything in between. But it’s that ‘in between’ category that, in recent months, has really gotten the public’s (and the Internet’s) attention. Personal essays now garner hundreds of comments a piece. Controversial topics (and click bait headlines) have become the norm. And it’s not just Salon — outlets like The Daily Beast, Time and Slate all use similar tactics in the race for traffic. Read more

XoJane.com Wants Writers To Get Personal

xoJane

XoJane.com, the brainchild of Jane Pratt (former founding editor of Sassy and Jane) is an incredibly successful women’s website that garners 2 million monthly visitors. The site’s success stems from many things — the name recognition of its matriarch, the constantly fresh content, the easy to read layout. But what really makes xoJane.com stand out are the extremely personal (and often cringe-worthy) essays from real women, dealing with issues anyone can relate to: dating disasters, family drama, addiction, gender issues, weight struggles, motherhood, pregnancy, birth control… the list goes on.

The writing on the site feels genuinely authentic due to its no holds barred attitude and the robust comment section is well worth a read in and of itself (it’s not uncommon for a controversial article to get over 1,000 responses). XoJane.com’s content is 75 percent freelance, so it’s a great place for writers to get their foot in the door. Executive editor Emily McCombs explains what makes the pub different:

“The idea of the site was definitely for it to be written by a group of women with strong voices, strong personalities [and] strong opinions who are living what they are writing about,” says McCombs. She adds that the advice comes straight from the writer’s own experiences — what she’s wearing, what she’s watching, what makeup she’s wearing — rather than quotes from experts on various topics.

To hear more tips on how to get published on xoJane.com, read How To Pitch: xoJane.com

Aneya Fernando

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

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