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Posts Tagged ‘longform journalism’

Jill Abramson, Steven Brill Back Long-Form Journalism Start-Up

jill abramson picA new start-up venture spearheaded by former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson and award-winning journalist/Court TV founder Steven Brill focusing on long-form journalism says it will advance writers around $100,000 to produce substantial, longer-than-magazine length articles, according to Poynter.

Abramson, who fleshed-out plans for the as-yet unnamed venture at a Journalism and Women’s Symposium last weekend in California, said the venture will feature one story per month and will be available by subscription.

Although Abramson did not elaborate on potential investors, she said that she and Brill “were very close” to a possible deal with a funder.

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Narratively Started Out As an Idea in Noah Rosenberg’s Notebook

Noah-Rosenberg-ArticleFor  Noah Rosenberg, the birth of long-form site Narratively came at the convergence of middle-of-the-night moments of inspired thought and a desire to explore the story left out of space-restricted newspaper pieces.

In just a little over two years, the award-winning site has amassed an army of talented contributors, who in turn have garnered attention from the likes of book publishers and movie producers. Rosenberg, as the site’s co-founder and chief executive officer, sits at the helm as the company is poised for an expansion. Rosenberg spoke with Mediabistro to discuss Narratively’s past and future, and what it took for Rosenberg to turn his idea into reality:

When I first came up with the idea for Narratively, or the very early idea, I hadn’t worked for any of the big-name outlets. But [eventually I started] working for The Wall Street Journal, and doing some work for GQ.com and a number of other big organizations. So I thought to myself, ‘Okay, I finally have some semblance of credibility, I have a great contact list, the media landscape is continuing to shift. People are consuming content on iPads now and they want more long-form, in-depth stuff, and if I don’t do this now I’m never going to do this.’

For more on Rosenberg, read: So What Do You Do, Noah Rosenberg, Founder, CEO and EIC of Narratively?

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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4 Observations From The Atlantic‘s “100 Fantastic Pieces of Journalism”

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 12.27.23 PMDon’t worry — longform storytelling isn’t going anywhere, thankfully, and The Atlantic writer and journalist Conor Friedersdorf has released his take on the best nonfiction journalism of 2013.

If you don’t follow Friedersdorf or receive his The Best of Journalism newsletter, you’re missing out, because he takes the time to scour the web for terrific journalism and serves it to you right on a silver platter (AKA your email inbox).

Anyway, the final list has a few more than 100 pieces of reported works. Here’s what I noted from taking a closer look at it:

1. Digitally native pubs have a nice showing. 

Sites like The Awl, Aeon, Pacific Standard and Gawker that find their homes on the web are producing some really nice journalism. Even BuzzFeed made Friedersdorf’s list twice. Grantland, The Verge, Medium and Slate had a presence on the list, too — an encouraging fact for those of us committed to doing quality writing and reporting online. Friedersdorf also took a moment to applaud Glenn Greenwald and his team for their reporting on the NSA’s mass surveillance.

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Longreads Joins Forces With Automattic, Owner of WordPress

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 1.36.20 PMDuring the month of its five-year anniversary, Longreads was bought by Autommatic, the web development company best known for its ownership of WordPress (also Gravatar and Polldaddy, for the nerdiest types).

Longreads, started by former journalist and longform journalism enthusiast Mark Armstrong in 2009, announced April 9 it was joining forces with Autommatic in order to expand its impact and better equip itself to share the best longform (1,500+ words) work on the web.

“The world cannot live on 140 characters alone,” Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg said to Bloomberg Businessweek. “Longreads embodies a lot of what we really value with Automattic and WordPress.”

This move makes total sense. WordPress.com is the “largest and most influential publishing ecosystem in the world,” as Armstrong wrote, and its content management system powers the work of big news brands like NYPost.com and Quartz, and lesser known yet immensely talented freelance writers. Longreads is constantly looking for great journalism to share, while competing against sites like Byliner, and Automattic’s WordPress offers writers a place where their journalism can live. So, it’s a win-win situation. And, in a SXSW talk last year, Mullenweg said WordPress was looking for a way to delve deeper into — and monetize — longform journalism, as what became known as the longform “renaissance” had really started to take shape.

 


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