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Posts Tagged ‘longreads’

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. 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 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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Believe in Longform? So Does Longreads, Which Just Launched a Member Drive to Boost Profits

longreadsstoryEven as writers constantly engaging with the Web and social media to share and search for quality work, it can sometimes be a bother to sift through Internet nonsense and listicles to find great journalism.

Longreads, a curator of narratives both of the fiction and nonfiction variety exceeding 1,500 words, is one of the platforms seeking to alleviate this, and they’re looking to push their reach further and offer extras to their members. The company, founded in 2009, announced Monday an initiative to reach 5,000 paid members. Currently, they’ve only got around 1,000 devotees who contribute $3 a month or $30 a year for all of Longreads’ best curated journalism, represented by media big shots as well as unknown writers — but they’re looking for more.

Unlike some other “streaming reading services,” as we’ll refer to them for our purposes, the main benefit of Longreads — to stumble upon exceptional storytelling that you might not find on your own —  is totally free to users. And Longreads promises it will remain this way for those who choose not to pay for the product.

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Dog Days of Summer: Beach Reads for Journos

While there’s nothing better than a long weekend or a beach vacation, it can be hard to disconnect, especially when your job is to be connected. If you’re a little compulsive like me, you still get a little pang when you’re email starts to ding from your beachbag. So as not to enrage my family and friends, I’ve finally learned to believe in the vacation response: once it’s set on my email, I pretend not to check it.

Instead, I do other socially acceptable things that pertain, sort of, kind of, to my job. It makes me feel better.


I’ve already taken my vacation this summer and passed most of my beach days thumbing through Brian Stelter‘s Top of the Morning. If you haven’t already read it, or wrote it off, I strongly urge you to reconsider. It’s a perfect summer read: well-written so you don’t start to snooze in your lounge chair and full of juicy bits of industry gossip. It’s like a James Patterson novel, but you won’t be embarassed if someone sees you eating it up.

If you like to get more serious, Jaron Lanier‘s Who Owns the Future? is another good pick.  The guy who coined the term ‘virtual reality’ now expounds on the political economy of the internet as we work with it today. Like Stelter’s book, it’s a quick and easy read — albeit more analytical. And sort of depressing. He likens free internet services to a bad mortgage — we benefit in the short term, but there are long term, serious consequences for our economy. It might make you want to just disconnect for good, or take up arms against ‘consumer internet services.’ If you want a preview, you can listen to an interview with Lanier here.

Play on the Internet

What with all the news coming out of Egypt this week, I saved the Pew Research Center’s report on reddit that they released yesterday. If you talk about social media without really knowing what reddit is all about — and it’s more than just ‘Ask Me Anything’ — then you should probably brush up. Only six percent of Americans are reddit users, but it’s a large, diverse world out there. Maybe you’re in that top percentile and already know this, but if you’re not, it’s a world worth exploring if only for the fact that 1) you’ll take it seriously next time someone brings it up as a way to troll for good stories or sources and 2) it can be sort of fun. Careful: you can waste more time on reddit than on Twitter. And you’re in charge of firing up the grill later.

Do you have any other good recomendations? Books? Podasts we should all be listening to? Comment here or tweet us with your summer distractions!

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.


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 You can also follow the progress of MATTER on Facebook and Twitter.