Atlantic Media recently announced four finalists competing for the 11th annual Michael Kelly Award, honoring the “fearless pursuit and expression of truth.”
Posts Tagged ‘The Atlantic’
The “future of journalism” topic has almost become trite in journalism circles, but for The Atlantic‘s President M. Scott Havens, thoughtful discussions and observations on the media landscape, both present and future, make the difference between being in the red and black.
At his SXSW talk, “Can Great Journalism Make for Great Business?” Havens, who will begin his post as Senior Vice President, Digital at Time Inc. March 31, explained how he helped propel a struggling then-Atlantic Monthly back to relevancy and progressiveness in the biz. A few of his “core beliefs” on producing and financially sustaining digital journalism are:
Magazines are here to stay
Sure, the definition of magazines is increasingly open for interpretation, but Havens says they’re not going anywhere. Readers are seeking stories with depth, analysis and craft, unlike so much of the content that permeates the web. “There’s something special about a well-researched magazine article,” he said. It’s fair to assume that print magazines won’t last (other than giants like TIME, Harper’s, The New Yorker, etc.) unless publishers can keep making profits from them. In The Atlantic’s experience, “Print advertising is actually sorta stable,” he said.
By now, you’ve probably read about the ‘odd couple‘ collaboration between The Atlantic and Deseret News. If not, I’ll sum up the buzz: a Mormon owned metro daily and the monthly magazine owned by a rich guy teamed up for a four part series on the changing role of fatherhood in the country. Or, the less interesting version: two print institutions (both share mid-19th century birthdays), revitalizing themselves and succeeding in the digital landscape teamed up to do good journalism.
Yawn, right? I chatted with Paul Edwards, editor of the Deseret News, and tried to get him to dish about the ‘nitty gritty’ of putting the series together and the perils of collaborating with a publication that was geographically and ideologically different from your own.
We all sat around a conference table at The Atlantic in D.C. for the better part of a day with whiteboards and sandwiches and talked about ‘what are the issues surrounding family stability’ and went from there to assign stories.
And get this — they used Word documents:
We each had different content management systems so we just decided at that level that is was easier to pass along Word documents and track changes…on our side, things got passed around quite a bit, for various reasons. Allison Pond edited the series, and I had a gentleman named Drew Clark work on it for a little bit. It was really between Eleanor Barkhorn, at the Atlantic and I, and that was the primary relationship back and forth. It largely stayed in house until we were essentially passing along pretty completed drafts.
There must be something in the air, maybe the end of a crazy year, that’s making writers introspective. In the past week alone, there have been some very good analyses of the state of the digital publishing . Since it’s cold outside (unless you live in a place where it’s not cold outside, and in that case, stop gloating) and you need some good reads for hibernation, here are five pieces that, I think, aptly explain the industry right now and help further the conversation.
Everybody in the room, put your hands together for Mr. Bennett. It’s not that he’s against expansive reporting, but the way the terminology is thrown around by publications. He asks:
“Is this just a fad, maybe even a fraud? Cynics would say that publishing a few big feature stories is a shortcut to respectability, and they’d be correct. But realists, I’m happy to say, would comment further that such features work: They draw in a lot of readers.”
Recently, I have find myself tapping out around page 3 or 4 of a feature article. By placing value on “long” we stop focusing on “interesting.” Let’s find another phrase, Bennet suggests, even if it proves tough;
Length is hardly the quality that most meaningfully classifies these stories. Yet there’s a real conundrum here: If long-form doesn’t fit, what term is elastic enough to encompass the varied journalism it has come to represent, from narrative to essay, profile to criticism? And how do you account for the blurring of boundaries as work from the digital realm energizes and reshapes traditional forms of journalism?
good post about Gawker’s Neetzan Zimmerman, although I wondered about this: “He posts only about a dozen items a day” http://t.co/rBfMIQvbxI
— Mathew Ingram (@mathewi) December 2, 2013
Let’s put aside the fact that that headline is really long and plays into some viral trends itself. After the Wall Street Journal’s profile on Neetzan Zimmerman, Ingram was irked by how many times a day the subject posted, and posits that focusing on viral content as a growth strategy, while it works for some, may not be a great idea. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket sort of thing:
But even if the content itself continues to work — in the sense that people will always want to share photos of otters holding hands or cats that look like Franklin Delano Roosevelt — the value of those millions of pageviews is continuing to drop. That’s not just because there are more and more sites doing it, but because the value of incremental pageviews is sinking inexorably towards zero. Read more
At the Web version of The Atlantic, there is plenty of room for freelancers to score a byline. On a single day, over 40 features are published, with headlines ranging from “The Cure for Obesity” to “What Gmail Knows About You” and “Medicine’s Fading Traditions of Generosity.”
The website covers the same thought-provoking topics as the print mag, and editors are open to pitches from freelancers who want to build a relationship with the pub.”One of our taglines is ‘we are no party of clique.’ That goes back to 1857 when we were founded,” said editor Scott Stossel, “that we would be unaffiliated with any specific ideological approach or political party. That remains the case today.”
Each freelancer’s viewpoint is as valid as the next one — but if you want to impress the editors, better do the proper research. For pitching etiquette and editor’s contact info, read How To Pitch: The Atlantic.
– Sherry Yuan
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