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Tue - 23.01.2018

The Gothamist launches long form experiment

The Gothamist launches long form experiment

The Gothamist, a snarky daily weblog covering New York City's news stories and local events, is branching out into long-form journalism, according to Paid Content.

The experiment hopes to disprove the belief that long-form journalism is not profitable and doesn't pay well. The chosen journalist will receive $5,000 for a 5,000 to 15,000-word piece. On its site, The Gothamist requests that the piece be relevant to its audience of "over one million 20-36 year-old readers in New York, timely but with a shelf-life longer than a week".

The venture is starting small. For the moment, the Gothamist has plans for one piece a month. It plans to publish the piece on the Kindle and Apple products for somewhere between $1 and $3.

If the Gothamist manages to turn a profit on this move, it may be the first. A few other ventures into long form journalism have generated buzz, but business models are still uncertain.

Atavist, an app that specializes in long form journalism, pioneered the landscape for digital long form earlier this year. The stories are woven with video content, documents, maps, and pictures, although the Kindle and Nook versions are restricted to text and pictures (and cost $1.99). The stories sell for $2.99 each on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. The indie startup was self-funded at first, and the app remains free. While the idea has been heralded for "saving" long form journalism, it remains to be seen if there is enough interest in the long form non-fiction to sustain financially.

The Atavist is going out on a limb. While the content is paid for, a little under 50% of profits go straight to writers, and another 30% goes to Amazon or Apple. In an interview with Capital New York, Atavist founder Evan Ratcliff did not rule seeking out other funding, though. "We're certainly open to advertising possibilities, although we're not pursuing them initially and they'd likely look different than conventional magazine or online advertising - possibly something more like a sponsorship".

The New York Observer has also recently announced it will also be including more long form journalism. It redesigned the website to give more emphasis to long form stories, integrating long-form features in the print version and long form web exclusives. The New York Observer's content is free.

The long-form journalism revival is certainly good news for journalists, but does it make business sense? Perhaps The Gothamist's experiment will finally enlighten the publishing community.

Journalists hoping to publish in The Gothamist have until next Friday, July 1st to pitch their ideas.

Sources: Paid Content, The Gothamist, Capital New York, Atavist, iPad Gear Talk



Florence Pichon


2011-06-24 17:11

The World Editors Forum is the organization within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.

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