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Posts Tagged ‘Byliner’

Do We Still Need Byliner?

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 9.26.16 AMEarlier this month, we learned that Byliner, the digital longform journalism platform launched in 2011, is looking for partners to continue sustaining its operation.

An email to contributors, published originally by PandoDaily, reads:

“We’ve struggled to reach the level of growth we’d been hoping for the business, and thus we’ve begun conversations with possible partners about the future of Byliner. We’re working to find a good home for our platform and your stories, and we’ll be in touch shortly with specifics about your titles.”

Not good news. Since then, co-founder Mark Bryant, executive editor Laura Hohnhold and now co-founder/CEO John Tayman have found the exit door at Byliner, a San Francisco startup. At this point, contributors are left wondering what Byliner’s fate will be, and the company — once lauded as a paradigm for longform journalism online — must rely on partners to boost Byliner.

But the more important question may be, ‘Do we still need Byliner?’ Perhaps Byliner’s troubles underscore a general sense of apathy toward longform, or highlight a lessening need for long publishers like this one.

On the other hand, outfits like The Big Roundtable and The New New South have popped up over the last year, BuzzFeed is taking longform more seriously and Longreads is still hanging on (and they don’t even require subscriptions like Byliner does). Aeon and Matter/Medium commission longform that performs well, and The Atavist relies in part on the licensing sales of its software platform The Creativist to be successful financially.

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MATTER: Returning to Long-Form Journalism

Earlier this month, I talked about three enterprising Kickstarter campaignsOuter Voices Podcast, Radio Ambulante, and The Independent Voice Project. Recently, another great journalism-focused project has started making news, and it’s called MATTER.

MATTER is the brain child of Jim Giles and Bobbie Johnson, two experienced reporters with a passion for making journalism better. Giles and Johnson have lined up a team of writers and editors to help push this vision forward, and according to the Kickstarter project page, MATTER will be for readers, not advertisers.

MATTER logo

The “return to long-form journalism” is a phrase that has been bandied about for a few years now, and several websites currently exist around this premise (Longreads, The Atavist, Byliner, Longform, etc.) MATTER won’t be a curation service; rather, it will include original investigative reporting from their team of writers, some of which have contributed to publications such as The New YorkerThe Atlantic, The Economist, The Guardian, The New York Times, National Geographic, Nature and Wired.

“The thing about long-form, in-depth journalism is that it’s expensive. There used to be many more newspapers and magazines that produced that sort of content, but journalism is in financial trouble and those outlets have cut back,” said Giles.

The Kickstarter campaign will help raise funds for MATTER to produce their first three pieces. By pledging at the $25 level, you can join their editorial board (powered by All Our Ideas) and lend your voice to the kind of reporting MATTER covers.

As of this article, the project is over 60% funded, but you can pledge until the campaign ends on March 24, 2012. For more information about MATTER, you can visit their website at readmatter.com. You can also follow the progress of MATTER on Facebook and Twitter.

Will Byliner Save Longform Journalism?

byliner

Let’s face it: Readers’ attention spans aren’t getting any longer. We are used to receiving news in sound bites or, in recent years, 140 characters or less. This does an injustice to investigative or longer news pieces. Enter Byliner and The Atavist, two tools that have the potential to bring back longform journalism.

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