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One to Watch: The digital fortunes of The Dish

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Report by Alex Klaushofer.

This month saw the launch of a start-up which is being eagerly watched by observers of the media landscape. The Dish – not to be confused with a dreadful Australian film on which I wasted several hours of my life – is the latest venture by Andrew Sullivan, the political blogger who has been dominating the US scene for more than a decade.

An online magazine covering anything from politics to religion and the arts, The Dish is subscription-based, and entirely ad-free. It has already impressed media-watchers with its early success, securing nearly $500 000 before it even officially launched – enough to keep Sullivan’s seven-strong team going for a year.

Sullivan’s journey in getting to this point – a tale he tells in this piece in The Australian – is instructive. A political blogger since 2000, he wrote unpaid for some six years, building an online readership of around a million a month. Then, seeing the appeal of his readership to advertisers, he cut deals with Newsweek and The Daily Beast. Publishing his blog on their websites helped them to build their digital readership, and gave him a share of the healthy advertising revenues.

As the digital revolution spread and advertisers became pickier, revenues fell. Sullivan’s little blog-craft – by now he had acquired business partners – looked in danger of running aground. Yet the period of financial success had clearly demonstrated the readers’ appetite for quality journalism. So he decided to cut out the advertising man and ask readers to pay for the content they loved directly.

The Dish is based on the freemium model, with the blog acting as the taster, while access to more in-depth material requires a subscription of $19.99. But is the model sustainable? Writing on the media startup Pandodaily, Hamish McKenzie raises doubts, pointing out that following the initial burst of enthusiasm Sullivan’s subscriptions have already slowed considerably. ‘If his rate for converting unique visitors to paid subscribers is the same as the New York Times’ – about 1 percent – then revenue from readers alone simply won’t be enough,’ he says.

As McKenzie points out, the bigger media players in the US are watching the Sullivan experiment with interest because its ‘leaky meter’ model so closely resembles their own. But the future fortunes of The Dish have a wider importance. Inspired by a clear vision about the value and purposes of journalism, it embodies much of which has always characterised good journalism: ‘I wrote a blog every day purely out of fascination with the idea of reaching readers without any editor or proprietor interfering,’ writes Sullivan of his early blogging years. ‘I did it free – because the editorial freedom was worth it.’

Now he is hoping that readers, too, will recognise the value of editorial independence to the extent that they are prepared to pay for it regularly. ‘There was something honest and real about asking readers to pay me to write,’ says Sullivan of his decision to The Dish. ‘No agent will take a cut; no editor can complain.’

It’s a purity of aspiration echoed by the editor of Canadian start-up Best Story Warren Perley, who resolutely insists that the future of quality journalism is reader-funded and advertising-free. And there are many other media pioneers out there who share the same high-minded approach which blends old-fashioned journalistic ideals with the realities of the digital age.

The Dish has the other ingredients – the distinct editorial vision, a personality, if you like – that have always characterised the most successful publications, and have more recently been redefined as the elusive ‘relationship’ with readers by digital development guys in big media organisations. The key question, as for many other online experiments, remains: will the readers buy it?

Alex is no longer blogging here, but tweets about media and publishing matters @alexklaushofer.

Written by Alex

February 14th, 2013 at 7:26 am

The Writer’s Tale – Atwood surveys publishing revolution

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Report by Alex Klaushofer.

Last week Canadian author Margaret Atwood came to London to collect one of the highest awards Britain can give a writer. Becoming a Companion of The Royal Society of Literature, an honour bestowed on only ten writers at any one time, brought Atwood’s collection of awards to 99 – a recognition of a lifetime of writing which, so far, has resulted in over 50 works of fiction, poetry and essays.

Atwood was, of course, suitably enlightening on the usual writer’s subjects, such as how she started, her writing routine (or lack of ), and the current state of western society. But where she is especially interesting is in her role as insider-observer of more than half a century of publishing, at at time of enormous change.

In that same period, Atwood went from being a six-year-old who stitched together her own paper books in the Canadian backwoods to a world-famous seventy-something author with a passion for things digital. She has chosen to sign up to Twitter at a time when her fame could easily have freed her from all such digi-drudgery. She even devised, a few years ago, LongPen, a signature device that enables authors to sign fans’ books remotely.

In a piece for the Guardian earlier this year, she defended writing-sharing website Wattpad as a place where new writers can try their wings. Then, in what seems like a supreme act of authorial generosity, she collaborated with a younger, less established author in writing a Zombie series for the site. Launched in October, each author is contributing a chapter until the story concludes in January 2013.

Wattpad ‘can enable writing in other places where it doesn’t exist or are two expensive,’ she told her RSL audience adding that, along with other online platforms for writers, ‘Byliner fills the role that was filled by magazines in the 1960s and 1970s’.

Doubtless, her enthusiasm for innovations that can bring writers and readers together stems from her early experiences as a writer. Despite, or perhaps because of a rather isolated childhood in the woods surrounded by books, Atwood determined, at the age of sixteen, to embark on a professional writing career. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time – there was no national literature in 1960s Canada and few places for a writer to publish, on any terms. But over the decades Atwood made her way, writing a significant part of a national literature in the process.

Her own lived experience of the transformation of publishing has, it seems, allowed her to adopt a sanguine view of the digital revolution: ‘A tree falls in the forest. Other trees grow,’ she told us serenely, adding: ‘Is paper going to go away anytime soon? Actually not.’

At the same time, in other forums, Atwood has kept her acute eye on the vexed question of how writers are to earn a crust, asking: ‘Who’s going to pay for the cheese sandwiches?’

Written by Alex

December 6th, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Digital revolution only just begun, report predicts

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Review by Alex Klaushofer.

For those hoping that the dust will soon settle on the digital revolution and that we can get back to quality journalism as usual, here is the bad news.

The transformations brought about by the digital revolution have only just begun, according to a report published by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism earlier this month. In Ten Years that Shook the Media World, report author Dr Rasmus Kleis Nielson dismisses any idea that the current period of change is nearing its end. He puts it into historical context, arguing that ‘we are today about as far into the internet revolution as Europe was into the printing revolution in the late fifteenth century.’ It was over a century before the new media became dominant, he points out.

But the real interest of the report comes out of the main trends emerging out of the turmoil. The foremost of these – the expansion of options to audiences and concomitant dispersal of opportunities for advertisers – will have far-reaching implications for democracy as it continues to play out in future.

Here the news is decidedly mixed, nuancing the claims for the democratizing power of the digital revolution. In emerging economies such as Brazil and India, Nielson predicts, the expansion of popular media will bring news to tens of millions of new consumers, representing a ‘profound democratisation’ of information.

But in affluent democracies, the same trend towards a growing plurality of niche providers erodes the audience for and financing of well-researched journalism. The result is a widening of the gulf between a minority who will be more informed than ever before, and the many who will find less and less news targeted at them.

Well-funded public service media make powerful counterweights to a trend which has particularly affected the Anglophone world, Nielson points out. But it’s an observation that is particularly worrying in the British context where, apart from the BBC, there is little political appetite for public subsidy for journalism aimed at a general audience.

Will we have a growing inequality of information to add to the woes of our widening poverty gap? For those concerned about the future of media in Britain, that’s the most pertinent question raised by this timely and authoritative report.

‘Ten Years that Shook the Media World: Big Questions and Big Trends in International Media Development’ is available to download free here.

Written by Alex

October 18th, 2012 at 5:11 am

Kindling for beginners: notes from a non-digital native

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Kindling for beginners. Humphrey Evans
Inspired by a case study in our recent ebooklet on New Ways to Make Copyright Pay, self-confessed non-techy Humphrey Evans launched himself into the Kindle world. In the letter below, he documents the nitty-gritty of his experience.

Dear Alex,

You asked about the learning points of my Kindle experience. I’ve just finished putting up another couple of titles in the Kindle Store, my fourth and fifth.

They’re the collected pieces I wrote for the Chief Sub column in the NUJ magazine the Journalist, plus a few more. The reason for two is that I split the material (about 20,000 words in all), at quite a late stage, when I realised I could put a price of around £3 on each, rather than, say, a more off-putting £5 for a combined book.

I made of note of time spent, and problems encountered.

The biggest problem, at least the one that put the biggest delay in the process, was completely unexpected. After I’d gone through the complete preparation and uploading process, Kindle queried whether I actually had to right to publish the material – on the grounds that much of it was widely available on the web. It turned out that they were basically seeing my own website, where I had put up much of the material.

It took a long, detailed email and a two day delay to sort this out. It’s worth bearing in mind for anyone else pulling together material that has already been published on the internet. Kindle doesn’t seem to be bothered by the idea of republishing material; what it is worried about is becoming the battleground for some copyright dispute.

The main problem, for someone who is not very technical, is of being on edge the whole time. It seems so easy to make a major mistake – at one point I found I still had the entire 20,000 words in one book, when I thought I’d cut 10,000 out when splitting it.

The Kindle manual is good in that it is comprehensive and exact, and the Kindle website interface is good, but there are still moments when you have to work out what it is that a computery person expects you to do next.

I’ve given myself an extra problem because, although I could do the main editing on my normal computer, with a large screen, I had to use a netbook to do the covers and the Kindle process because that’s where I’ve got Microsoft Office 2010, which includes the Paint programme for the covers. That means using a touchpad instead of a mouse, which I would never recommend for fiddly work.

The basic editing of the 20,000 words took about two days. That’s collecting and arranging the various articles into one file and splitting it, making all the headings and intros roughly the same length, providing material for the title page, copyright notice and so on, giving it a final read for sense and proofreading it. This would have to be done whatever route you would be taking into publication.

Next came styling it up typographically, which took about half a day. On top of that was something like an hour establishing the two Contents lists.

Then came the covers. They are just typographic, which is as cheap as it comes and shows up brilliantly well in the small sizes of Kindle listings. I could do these in Paint, which comes free, bundled up in Microsoft Office 2010. It is an irritating programme, because it doesn’t allow you to go back and make corrections, or to establish a template (did I mention it is cheap?). If you want to resize one element after you see how it is working with another, you have to scrap what you have done and start again from scratch. Anyway, it took me about an hour to do the two.

The final Kindle stage, working my way through the Kindle website interface, took exactly 45 minutes to do the two. You then have to wait about 12 hours for them to go on sale live.

It is interesting, pulling together these bits and pieces which otherwise would probably have no further life – I could never see this Chief Sub material making a printed book, for example, although I have used it when teaching.

As to money, I will let you know what happens.

Best wishes,

Humphrey

Humphrey Evans’ Edit: 23 Guidances for Editors, Subeditors, Copyeditors and other titles are available here.

Written by Alex

October 1st, 2012 at 5:12 am

Narratively: long, slow journalism from The City that Never Sleeps

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Report by Alex Klaushofer.

The new longform website Narratively has attracted interest ‘beyond our wildest dreams’, according to founder Noah Rosenberg. Even before its launch earlier this month, coverage of the New York-based magazine has been wide, while expressions of support have come via social media from around the world.

Such enthusiasm, thinks Rosenberg, is a measure of the appetite for in-depth storytelling not dictated by the 24/7 news agenda, and of a desire to get under the skin of a city such as New York which could easily be replicated in other parts of the world.

‘I’ve realised we have a readership which is beyond our base in New York,’ he says. ‘There are people who want the “slow journalism” approach'”.

The finance for the first six months came via crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. Rosenberg looked at other quality journalism projects and saw that longform science journalism project Matter, for example, hit its $50 000 target within a few days.

Rosenberg decided to adopt a similar approach for the start-up, and $53 000 was raised for Narratively. Meanwhile, the fundraising process created considerable publicity: ‘It’s not just a way to generate the money,’ he says. ‘It’s also a way to generate a tremendous amount of exposure.’

Narratively backers can choose from a series of packages which give you more involvement the more you pay. $10, for example, buys the opportunity to vote on the themes to be covered during the launch period, while for $10 000 the Narratively team will fly out and spend a week covering ‘under-the-radar human-interest stories from the location of your choice’. (No one, so far, has gone for this.) In between, are a range of packages which include dining events, customised products and the services of a photojournalist.

The Kickstarter appeal secured around 800 backers, a number of whom, Rosenberg admits, are close friends and family. The rest are made up of journalists passionate about the project and consumers looking forward to a good, in-depth read. The pledges he’s proudest to have secured, he says, are the lowest amounts, indicating a vote of confidence from those who don’t have much cash.

The project has been in-the-gestation for the past couple of years, as Rosenberg has gradually been getting other media professionals on board. Weekly editorial meetings in a New York cafe have attracted a dozen to forty journalists all keen to contribute. To date, no one has been paid for their work, including Rosenberg, who has been supporting himself on a modest freelance income supplemented by savings.

But from now on, he says, contributors will be paid ‘a few hundred dollars a piece’, a rate which he hopes will rise to the level of the fees paid in the freelance marketplace.

How far is this is feasible will depend on the success of the three-pronged business model designed to sustain Narratively after the first six months. Discussions with advertisers begin this week. Then comes the possibility of syndication to a global media prepared to pay for high-quality content about The Big Apple. But the key plank is to be a premium membership/subscription package which will buy readers access to exclusive content such as a monthly ebook, interactive city guides, and live storytelling events.

The scheme is designed to create the ‘sense of community’ – aka brand relationship – between publication and readership that has long been at the heart of established media, while quietly selling non-editorial products as part of the package.

Further down the road, Rosenberg envisages an occasional print edition and expansion into other cities.

What’s not to like? As is so often the case in this brave new world of media pioneers, the editorial aspirations are laudable and there is doubtless an appetite among readers for what the Narratively team can produce. It remains to be seen whether the money will follow.

Written by Alex

September 17th, 2012 at 7:51 am

UK hyperlocals suffer from grantfunders’ fixation on innovation

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UK hyperlocals suffer from grantfunders' fixation on innovation

Comment by Alex Klaushofer.

Earlier this month, the lottery-funded charity Nesta announced the successful bidders for its new grant programme Destination Local. Ten winners emerged out of the 165 hyperlocal projects who applied for funds, including Welsh language paper Papur Dre and The Kentishtowner, an online north London magazine. Each project will receive up to £50,000 to develop and test prototypes for new technology platforms, especially mobile devices, thus contributing to the new generation of hyperlocal media services.

This is undeniably good news. The burgeoning of the hyperlocal sector in recent years clearly demonstrates the appetite of both its readers and new breed of publisher-editors for in-depth, engaged news and information for local communities. But the sector has been stymied by the lack of a revenue model, with profitable operations such as the Filton Voice very much the exception, while others, such as the Saddleworth News, simply die of starvation. Meanwhile, with the Guardian giving up on its own hyperlocal experiment, big media organisations are faring no better.

In the middle are the majority of hyperlocals – community projects often very successful in editorial terms and much-loved by their readers, but sustained largely by the goodwill and passion of those who run them. For now. Consequently, most face a very uncertain future.

The UK is behind the States in this respect. With leading funders such as the Knight Foundation, the US not-for-profit sector has invested over a billion dollars in quality journalism over the past decade.

But with its marked focus on innovation, the Nesta grant programme follows in the footsteps of the well-established UK lottery tradition of supporting the new at the expense of the simply good. I know this, because for years I covered the lottery and funding worlds, often speaking to grant applicants and the frustrated heads of small charities and community groups. A clear pattern emerged from their attempts to secure funding: with continual pressure to show that projects were ‘innovative’, a few skewed their work towards the obviously ‘new’. But the overall result was that services of proven benefit to the community – even those that had been ‘new’ five years ago – often fell by the wayside, as the funding machine rolled on to support the next shiny new idea.

This potted history of the British grant-funding scene may hold a lesson for community-focused media start-ups. For, out of the YouTube pitches thoughtfully collated by Nesta to add to the growing body of emerging practice, it is clear that some deserving projects never stood a chance of funding because of the programme’s focus on technological innovation. Take the case of the award-winning Ventnor Blog, for example. Despite establishing itself at the heart of the community, the six-year-old site still does not provide its mid-career husband-and-wife team with a viable living.

Or take Port Talbot Magnet – not, as far as I know, an applicant for Nesta funding – effectively surviving off the PhD funding of one of the cooperative’s members. In an interview with the Online Journalism Blog, Rachel Howells cites the biggest challenge to date as the lack of funding; not one of the seven directors are in a position to give the website the time it needs to develop and become sustainable.

Perhaps we should admit that, for once, our American cousins have the longer view.

Written by Alex

July 16th, 2012 at 7:24 am

OUT NOW: Free ebooklet for writers from New Model Journalism

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By Alex Klaushofer.

Against the background of change and struggle that has afflicted the media and publishing in recent years, one strand of good news has consistently emerged. This good news story of the crisis in journalism tells of innovation and experimentation, of pioneering practices and the opening up of new frontiers, as writers of all kinds develop cutting-edge models to sustain quality work.

So we’re pleased to have the opportunity to gather together some of the best, and most distinctive, examples of this pioneering trend. Some of the case studies, such as Disability News Service and iPad magazine Sail Racing, are updates on initiatives we’ve been tracking for a while. It’s been great to see them going from strength to strength, refining their models as they do so.

Other experiments, such as community newspaper The Ambler or author Simon Winchester’s enhanced app Skulls, are new to us or have received little coverage in the British media press. Most are working as individuals or in small groups, and all are entrepreneurial – but not relentlessly so. Some are combining their new projects with other ambitions or commitments, fitting them into their own temperaments and particular circumstances. In every case, the innovators share the lessons learnt (so far), details of the nuts and bolts of their models, and offer ideas on how their models might be replicated by others.

The forthcoming e-pamphlet has been generously sponsored by the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society and supported by the NUJ. Freely available to members of both organisations, it is effectively a gift to the writing community. The hope is that readers will draw both inspiration and practical advice from its contents.

‘Help yourself: New ways to make copyright pay’, is available here.

Written by Alex

July 2nd, 2012 at 6:13 am

Clutch of hyperlocal newspapers launch in south London

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Report by Alex Klaushofer.

Friday saw a strange phenonmenon in Media Land: the launch of seven hyperlocal newspapers across south London. The weekly newspaper South London Press, now nearly a hundred and fifty years old, is printing seven editions specific to particular areas. Streatham, Brixton, Wimbledon, Wandsworth, Dulwich, Deptford & New Cross and Forest Hill & Sydenham are to get their own papers, while a stand-alone edition will continue to be sold in areas without hyperlocal editions. All have a cover price of 50p.

Given that local papers have long been at the sharp end of the crisis in journalism, can such a move be successful? Proprietor Sir Ray Tindle, the eighty-something owner of over 200 local papers, is well-known for his upbeat attitude to the difficulties of local journalism. His papers have continued to thrive during the downturn, and in June 2011 he launched fortnightly hyperlocal The Chingford Times, which is reportedly doing well.

The key to success is, apparently, lies in a hyperlocal approach to news that is rooted in old-fashioned journalistic values rather than a trend emerging out of the digital revolution. When taking over the failing Tenby Observer, Sir Ray’s first move was to reverse a decision to extend coverage to several towns. Every line of every story must relate to Tenby, he instructed: ‘A cat must not have kittens in Tenby unless it’s covered in the Observer’.

Yet coverage at this level of detail is labour-intensive and so costly. It is not clear whether any more staff have been taken on at the South London Press, but Sir Ray’s comments, quoted by the Press Gazette, will speak volumes to anyone who has worked in a newsroom during these difficult times: ‘I stood up last Friday afternoon and asked if they could do it in 14 days. Somebody whispered to me, ‘you’re asking them to do six new paid-for papers in six working days’, and I said, “these people can do it”.’

At the same time, in the responses posted to news of the launch, experts including James Hatts, veteran hyperlocal editor of SE1, observe that the main edition of South London Press has been thin on content for some time.

A new crop of print hyperlocals launched by lone operators suggest that the South London Press may be missing another key ingredient to success. In founding the filtonvoice, a monthly newsy magazine serving an area of Bristol, Richard Coulter says that rootedness in the community is essential: ‘You have to live in the neighbourhood to do this properly. I don’t think you could do it remotely,’ he says. The magazine has been an immediate success with readers, both in terms of editorial and advertising, and was profitable from Issue One.

Between Sydenham and Streatham, two of the areas served by the new South London Press hyperlocals, lies Crystal Palace, also with its monthly lifestyle magazine The Transmitter. Printed on high-quality paper, full of photos with local people and places and contributions by residents, the publication oozes the kind of celebratory granularity that digital hyperlocals have developed so well.

Publisher-editor Andy Pontin admits that the magazine makes a small loss, but adds that this situation could be quite easily changed: ‘My personal issue is that I have a full time job and four kids, so how I manage my time is to jettison any attempt to get advertising in order to focus what little time I have on the magazine editorial and photography, which is my hobby,’ he says. ‘If I, or someone on a commission basis, spent more time trying to get ads, then I am 99% positive it would be in profit.’

Time will tell whether the new generation of South London Press hyperlocals can combine the virtues of old-fashioned journalism with the allure of organically-grown publications.

Written by Alex

June 11th, 2012 at 4:51 am

New, print and profitable – a new model for hyperlocals

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Report by Alex Klaushofer.

Print is dying, and hyperlocal websites notoriously difficult to make pay. But one recently-established community magazine is challenging these orthodoxies of the digital age.

Monthly magazine The filtonvoice is the brainchild of Richard Coulter, a former staffer on The Bristol Evening Post. Having taken redundancy from the struggling newspaper, Coulter looked around and noticed that Filton, a well-defined part of Bristol with a population of around 12,000, had local publications aplenty. And they were full of adverts. Yet the editorial material was poor or non-existent.

‘I thought, if I can tap into the commercial success but bring some of the skills that I have in terms of the content, there might be a model here”,’ he told NMJ.

Coulter persuaded the former ad manager of The Evening Post to sell ads on a commission-only basis. Local businesses immediately took space, and Issue One of filtonvoice, published in October 2011 with 16 pages, went immediately into profit.

The page length soon went up to 32, and eight editions later, the magazine hovers between 40-48 pages, depending on how many ads have been sold; since he is not charging for the publication, Coulter feels no obligation to commit to a certain length.

Around 5000 magazines are printed each month and delivered door-to-door by a small team, or left at pick-up points in local shops and community centres.

‘The feedback has been very positive,’ says Coulter. ‘People say it’s just what was needed. They are surprised how much goes on in the community.’

Meanwhile, the advertising revenue the magazine generates pays him a decent wage for the two-and-half-day week he spends on producing it – around 40% of what he was earning as a staff journalist.

In Coulter’s view, the experiment demonstrates that there is an enduring appetite for print publications serving local communities, as well as a market for the advertising to sustain them. He has no plans to go digital-only.

‘I’m not going to get to the point where we don’t need the magazine anymore,’ he says. ‘My view is that I simply do not see where there’s any revenue for news websites digitally.’

He prioritises print, publishing material online only after it has appeared in the magazine. No web-only advertising rates are offered, and so far only one client has requested an online advert.

The keys to success, Coulter thinks, lie in having a well-defined niche with the means to advertise, something that can be replicated by other entrepreneurial journalists in many areas and sectors.

‘Just plunge in and have a go,’ he advises. ‘There is a way of setting this up and being profitable from Day One.’

A fuller version of this case study will appear in ‘New Ways to Make Copyright Pay’, an ebook of pioneering practice that New Model Journalism is producing for the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society

Written by Alex

May 28th, 2012 at 4:29 am

Readers will pay for quality journalism, insists editor of new longform site

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Report by Alex Klaushofer.

Launched barely a month ago, the new longform website beststory.ca is nothing if not journalistically ambitious.

According to its founder, Warren Perley, the Montreal-based site is unique as a platform for quality, exclusive stories offered to readers on a pay-as-you-go basis. The site carries no advertising, neither does it follow a news agenda; instead freelance journalists contribute the stories they want to write. After extensive editing, the published stories earn them a royalty of 25 per cent.

The project has been in the making three and a half years, and the founders have invested a significant amount of time in developing the proprietary software that makes possible a magazine-style layout with quality pictures appearing perfectly in tablet form.

Perley says that he and his partners have also made a ‘substantial’ financial investment in the business, although he doesn’t want to reveal how much. But the company did, he volunteers, turn down offers of outside investment in order to maintain editorial independence.

The decision was a reflection of the thinking that has underpinned the project since its conception. Now that the advertising model that has sustained journalism for the past hundred years is broken, argues Perley, the task is to re-educate readers about the need to pay for quality writing.

But at 40 cents – US or Canadian, depending on where the reader is – the fee per story is remarkably low. Readers are offered three packages, the lowest a bundle of three stories, and the highest ten dollars’ worth of articles, including some yet-to-be published.

The corollary of such pricing is that the writers’ earnings will be similarly low.

‘We have to keep the price exceptionally modest, because first we have to get readers used to the idea of paying for intellectual content,’ says Perley.

He adds that, once the readership has built up and the site developed a reputation, prices – and therefore royalties – may go up. In the meantime, the priority is to establish a new paradigm for digital publishing in which people are prepared to pay for quality reading matter.

The beststory model, he agrees, combines old-fashioned publishing values with a determination to make digital content pay. In the meantime, it is clearly not going to generate anyone a living wage any time soon.

‘Will it be a financial success?’ asks Perley. ‘We’ll see. I think it could be. But I only know one way to do business, and that means producing quality.’

Written by Alex

May 14th, 2012 at 10:46 am