Having a printed newspaper certainly gets you noticed! Obvious in many ways, maybe, but for a digital start-up, using the power of print might not seem the most likely route but it’s certainly paying off for us at Contributoria.com.
As fellow co-founder Matt McAlister says on his own blog:
We weren’t exactly surprised to see so much interest in the printed version of Contributoria because we intuitively believed people would like it in newspaper format, particularly if it was designed nicely. But the effect on the business has been more than just a nice-to-have.
First and most obvious is that people understand what we’re up to. The mental leap required for understanding community-powered journalism can be challenging even for people who are in the business. But it only takes one or two seconds to explain it when you can give someone the output of what we’re doing to hold in their hands.
They’re encouraged to hear that our business model is about membership in a community, but that sometimes requires an explanation. When they see the newspaper they see quality journalism, and that’s something everyone understands.”
And, most importantly, it’s getting our writers noticed too. All the articles published on the platform are provided under a non-commercial share and attribution licence.
This means blogs and other non-profits can use them at no extra cost and we organise a re-licensing fee for commercial publishers (which is shared with the writer). Having the re-licensing button added to the bottom of each article has made this aspect easier to understand this month.
The first Contributoria writer to have an article syndicated to The Guardian was Rich McEachran with this article about edible packaging and there’s soon to be more appearing there too.
It’s also working internationally – prolific Contributoria writer Danielle Batist has found her way over to the South African Big Issue with her piece about London’s exiled Zimbabwe radio while Peter Dorrie’s piece about the politics of fishing in Africa is informing folk via the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty.
The Women’s Environmental Network is featuring Fanny Malinen’s article on food sovereignty and I think we’ve all lost track of the number of outlets which Jen Wilton and Liam Barrington-Bush’s piece about the Spanish town of Marinaleda has reached – New Internationalist, The Ecologist, Truth Out, Yes! Magazine, ROAR Magazine….this list goes on.
Exciting times indeed. If you’d like be a part of this community of independent journalists, you can sign up here.