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Posts Tagged ‘news startups’

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.

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There’s a Lack of Diversity in New Media Orgs. How Do We Fix It?

peopleThe Internet turned 25 this week and, like most twenty-somethings, still has much to work on, despite its ego. The Internet’s id shows itself in recent conversations surrounding the “new (new) journalism,” and various journalism start-ups. Emily Bell wrote yesterday that these start-ups are far from revolutionary — if only because many of them are founded and fronted by men. Think Glenn Greenwald, Ezra Klein, Nate Silver.

Is this because female journalists are less likely to be plugged as “marquee” writers, as Bell suggests? Or that they have to choose between serving others or being a stand-alone presence as columnist? Or are women simply less likely to apply (remember that Clay Shirky post?).

While I’m glad she brought it up, it’s worth noting that she may be asking the wrong question. There are successful “new” news orgs founded by women and run by them. While Melissa Bell may have, according to Bell’s post, worked in the background at Wonkblog, she seems to have a presence over at Vox — if only because she gets screen time in the launch video. What about Sarah Lacy or Kara Swisher? Vox just poached Eleanor Barkhorn. Read more

Don’t Miss the Jan. 14 #MuckedUp Chat on Digital Journalism Startups

photoTonight (Jan. 14) at 8 p.m. Eastern time, log into your Twitter feed and follow the hashtag #MuckedUp for Muck Rack’s weekly chat — this time, the topic is about digital entrepreneurship and journalism startups.

As Adam Popescu said in his event preview, “today’s journalism is like an avalanche of content that seems never ending.” Because of this fact, Popescu reasons there are two categories of journalists: “churnalists,” who thrive, at least for the short term, on the hustle and bustle of constant deadlines and producing tons of content — and then there’s the “entrepreneurial” type, who is more fulfilled in sniffing out underreported stories and earning a reputation as a topical expert.

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Matter Announces Second Class of Start Ups for Media Accelerator Program

matter-media-startupsMatter, a start up accelerator, has announced seven start ups to take part in it’s second class. Backed by PRX, The Knight Foundation and KQED, Matter calls it a class or a program, but it’s more like media start up boot camp. The companies will all work together in a co-working space in San Francisco, attending speaking events, reviews, mentoring sessions and workshops for four months. The program culminates in a demo day in San Francisco and a showcase in New York.

Each start up receives a $50,000 investment to get them rolling. The companies participating in the program, which starts this week, focus on cross-publishing, collaboration and crowdsourcing. If you want to know what the future of publishing looks like, it’s probably something like this. Here’s a full list of the companies from Matter’s press release:

  • Connu – Connu helps emerging writers find, connect with and monetize audiences through publishing the best new short stories.
  • Contextly – Contextly enables publications of all sizes to be both informative and viable in the age of drive-by readers by marrying editorial wisdom to the power of algorithms.
  • The Creative Action Network – The Creative Action Network (CAN) is a marketplace for artists, causes and supporters to harness their talents for good by creating, buying and sharing original, crowdsourced creative content and merchandise.
  • Formidable – Formidable Corp. bursts the filter bubble to help connect you to people outside of your social circle.
  • Getcast – Getcast empowers creative professionals to take control of their careers by connecting them through a platform that helps them showcase their work, hone their craft and collaborate on a global scale.
  • Hacklog – Hacklog empowers individual journalists to be more relevant to their audiences, impactful with their stories and in charge of their careers by providing honest analytics.
  • Woop.ie – Woopie (Write Only Once, Publish It Everywhere) empowers writers and publishers to easily reach their audiences on all devices and platforms through a digital content publishing tool focused on responsive design.

Image via Gigaom

4 Ways to Build Sustainable Journalism Startups

Renaissance Journalism Center

In the current media landscape where online startups are looking to fill the void left by wilting traditional media, starting a business is only the beginning. Though first steps are important, many startups are starting to face problems in sustaining their enterprises. This is what a new study by the Renaissance Journalism Center seeks to understand. The study surveyed 32 media startups to see what challenges they are facing in terms of preserving and obtaining funds. What can we learn from these findings to help build sustainable journalism startups?

1. Be on the lookout for new sources of revenue

Most of the startups surveyed (71.9 percent) are non-profits that received initial funding in the form of foundation grants. But grants are more difficult to obtain for existing sites so many of the organizations are finding themselves short of resources. Foundations are more interested in funding new journalistic experiments, not helping existing ones survive. That means startups need to be resourceful: build relationships with local journalism experts from schools, trade organizations, and angel investor groups. Communicating with similar startups can encourage idea sharing about new streams of revenue.

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