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niche journalism

Marijuana.com Rebranding and Hiring As The Pot Beat Grows

marijuanacomlogosThe time has finally arrived where you can be a professional journalist and immerse yourself in marijuana culture. Weedmaps.com, which has long been a go-to source for marijuana knowledge bought marijuana.com four years ago. The domain always hosted content, but now that marijuana activism has reached a tipping point and states start to legalize it for recreational and medicinal uses, there are a lot of serious issues to cover. They’re currently looking for a managing editor and accepting freelance pitches.

Kat Smith, Director for Customer Engagement over at Weedmaps, says the move was a long time coming:

We felt that there was a gap in the marketplace for the type of aggregation and information around marijuana. Cannibis Culture and High Times and other mainstream outlets are doing a good job, but we just wanted to make sure that since marijuana.com was so popular that we utilized that space to inform people. We’re very much of the mindset that with the rising tide of legalization, and all the different things that are happening, we make sure we are educating and engaging in dialogue with everyone. People in the marijuana community and legislators, or just people that want to know more about marijuana. That was really the thought behind it so three months ago we went about setting up for a rebrand, so thats what you see and our goal is to be a best in class publication and make it an informative place. Read more

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Atlantic Media Re-launches CityLab.com, Emphasis on Mobile, Expanded Editorial

citylab feat picThe Atlantic recently announced the re-launch and expansion of its’ former AtlanticCities.com site as CityLab.com, a re-envisioned destination with an eye toward mobile users first, as well as a responsive design and expanded editorial intended to widen the audience for the site’s coverage of issues facing global cities. Read more

Culture and Political News — With a Hardcover

hrdcvrDanyel Wilson and Elliot Smith think, like most of us, that journalism as it’s practiced today needs fixing. So they’re focusing on the “soul” of our beloved craft and launching a magazine, in the form of a book. Yes, you read that correctly.

If you want to see it to believe it, you can donate now to their Kickstarter fund for the project, HRDCVR, which is open until June 5th.

Smith and Wilson are both journalists themselves, working at places like XXL and Vibe, respectively. So the magazine has a focus on culture and politics, with an emphasis on music, tech, and elections. Wilson “refined” the project while studying at Stanford University on a Knight Foundation fellowship. The magazine comes with an ethos of ditching the niche and the mainstream — something many publications are flocking towards — and being “multistream.”

Smith says in their release for the Kickstarter campaign that HRDCVR plans to:

make content from the revolutionary stance of everyone being equally interesting. We embrace the politics and cultures and passions of actual and projected populations in the United States. Our creative teams reflect and take inspiration from the humans and the humanity behind the new demographics

They’ve already raised about 4% of their goal, so if you want to see the highly designed (and heavy?) magazine, donate soon. You can follow the project at @HRDCVRx and fund it here.

For more on HRDCVR and to hear Wilson’s social media tips, read Hey, How’d You Become Hip-Hop’s Social Media Authority, Elliott Wilson?

Knight Center Announces Free Online Investigative Journalism Class

knight invest. journo post picIf you’ve ever wanted to learn the nuts and bolts of investigative reporting, here’s your chance, courtesy of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.

A five-week, massive open online course (MOOC) on “Investigative Journalism for the Digital Age,” will begin on May 12 and end on June 14, 2014. Read more

The Silence at The Intercept Is A Reflection of Startup Newsroom Difficulties

0ca4fbfa-ee45-4a5c-8995-24920f11e534-620x372Just over two months after publishing its first revelations about the NSA’s mass surveillance program, First Look Media’s The Intercept is taking a break. Well, sort of.

The newest member of the team (that we know of), built around former Guardian journalist and Edward Snowden cohort Glenn Greenwald, is editor-in-chief John Cook of Gawker. And on Monday, April 14, Cook took to the Intercept’s blog to explain why there hasn’t been a whole lot of action from The Intercept’s reporting team.

The main reason for the lack of reporting coming out of the team, which also includes Liliana Segura formerly of The Nation, is that they launched before they were 100 percent ready to launch. That is, they started posting stories detailing the NSA’s surveillance and other government programs before they were fully staffed and had a long-term vision for what The Intercept should be. Wrote Cook:

Until we have completed the work of getting staffed up and conceptually prepared for the launch of a full-bore news operation that will be producing a steady stream of shit-kicking stories, The Intercept will be narrowly focusing on one thing and one thing only: Reporting out stories from the NSA archive as quickly and responsibly as is practicable. We will do so at a tempo that suits the material. When we are prepared to publish those stories, we will publish them. When we are not, we will be silent for a time, unless Glenn Greenwald has some blogging he wants to do, because no one can stop Glenn Greenwald from blogging.

So there you go. The Intercept’s decision to go live was based on a broader obligation to just start reporting, “not based on an assessment that everything that one needs for the successful launch of a news web site — staff, editorial capacity, and answers to questions about the site’s broader focus, operational strategy, structure, and design,” said Cook.

Personally, I appreciate the sentiment that the website and editorial strategy don’t have to be perfect in order to set up shop. Ezra Klein‘s Vox did something similar and dubbed the site’s first iteration “a work in progress,” almost as if to invite criticism. The idea that The Intercept — even with such a specific topic focus — should have hammered out every single detail about what it wanted to be before launching is unfair. But, I can understand the complaints around the Web that The Intercept’s design is boring at best, given the $250 million eBay founder Pierre Omidyar funneled into the project. For all we know, though, part of their silence could be allowing for a total makeover.

Read more

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