Image: Dean Vipond.
One of the most inspiring things about working on Contributoria.com has been the global spread of issues and interests our writers have demonstrated.
Here is just a snapshot – this month’s issue mapped, simply touch the image to explore the world of stories.
Although most active in the UK and Europe (not surprising considering that’s where the team is based) the growing community of writers has also been turning their attention further afield.
The global nature of the coverage is something we noticed from day one on the platform and is continuing apace, helping to answer one of our initial aims in starting the site by exposing new writers and stories that might not otherwise emerge.
If I had to pick three personal favourites from this month which show that diversity, I’d suggest taking a look at Naomi Klein: “We’re not who we were told we were” (Canada), Kalashnikovs and cameras on the road to Syrian freedom (Syria) and Who makes the best cup of tea: George Orwell or Douglas Adams? (UK).
The full range of articles from the October issue can be access via the map above or by continent here:
- Do political attitudes to tech need a 21st-century upgrade? By Clare Speak
- Who makes the best cup of tea: George Orwell or Douglas Adams? By Jon Bounds
- A juicy affair: 3D fruit and other printed foods. By Rich McEachran
- Betty Tebbs: Woman of our time. By Bernadette Hyland.
- The town of entrepreneurs. By Aneira Davies.
- Newham Council and the LOBO loan scandal. By Joel Benjamin.
- Is there life out there? How the world’s largest telescope could tell us everything.By Katiem.
- Birmingham’s food revolution. By Jon Card.
- One year on, has Birmingham turned over a new leaf? By Wilko.
- Death by cow. By James Alexander.
- Shakespeare’s universal language and 450th birthday. By Tugay Kest.
- What’s in your backpack? By jonhickman
- #altbeebies: Modern day kids TV through the eyes of silly grown ups. By Stuart Parker.
- An enthographic study of group dynamics pertaining to the observance of the ritual of ‘football’. By Danny_Smith
- Family welfare in Finland – a lesson for Scotland. By Helena Greenlees
- Context, Conflict, & Historical Consciousness: Pondering the Meaning of Ukraine. By Spindoctorjimbo.
- Who’s taking care of protecting your privacy? By Basile Simon.
- Meat the future. By Rich McEachran.
- Someone I met in September. By Danielle Batist.
- Income inequality: how big is the gap between Ireland’s rich and poor? By Mark O’Brien.
- Fast walking V slow walking. By James Alexander.
- Unusual design: Objects being fashioned from food. By Rich McEachran.
- Social sport coaches reach most vulnerable players. By Danielle Batist.
- Encounters with history in Berlin. By Hannah Wilson.
- Naomi Klein: “We’re not who we were told we were”. By Liam Barrington-Bush.
- The other Maradona. By Gonzalo Zegarra.
- The rise of revolutionary street art in Oaxaca. By Jen Wilton.
- Child labour in Bolivia: “Let us work”. By Michael Ertl.
- Ladies of the garden. By Julie Schwietert Collazo.
- Mapping out trade policy with human values. By Fanny Malinen.
- Cocaine: an uneasy paradox in the Colombian Pacific. By Colombia Calling.
- Ten promises… because I said I would. By Danielle Batist.
- How many people have to die before we open our minds to mental illness? By Thomas Roden.
- Magic mushrooms for depression, MDMA for PTSD: the 21st century revolution in psychedelic psychotherapy. By Monthrie.
- Sugar: the next “tobacco war”? Bt Jennifer Parker.
- Can a song change the world? By Adam Pearson
- Can insects learn to love eating us? By Jeremy Blachman.
- My long healing journey. By Giulia Loi.
- Kalashnikovs and cameras on the road to Syrian freedom. By Joris Leverink.
- Iran, inside out. By Joshua Virasami.
- Women risk everything in fight for human rights. By Tania_Haas.
- Investigating reports of rising antisemitism. By Mischa Wilmers.
- Israel & Ireland: Some personal reflections on conflict & resolution. By James MW.
- Why is the British government arming Israel? By Steve Rushton
- Lessons from the Holocaust: racism, genocide and the Gaza crisis. By Joe Turnbull.
- The life of a hand-rickshaw puller. By Arpita Chakrabarty.
- Baluchistan on the brink. By Joshua Virasami.
- Lost to the race of modernity. By Akhilesh.
- Is Madrassa education relevant? By Gagandeep Kaur.
- Working close to nature. By Trisha Bhattacharya.
- Travel stories from the pink city. By Trisha Bhattacharya.
If you’d like to join the freelance writers on Contributoria.com and get paid for your original journalism – from anywhere in the world – join us here.
And if you’d like a print edition or e-reader of the best stories from our online issue each month, then you can sign-up for those there too.
I’ve been experimenting with different ways to get the message out about the opportunity to collaborate on stories I’m working on and came across this neat way to embed multimedia elements into a single picture. Called http://www.thinglink.com, it means you can embed the links to other media (using different styles of icons) and create an easily shareable final interactive image. No code required.
Simply mouse over the image and the buttons to click onto for additional material become visible.
I’m just about to finish this story about a charity working with entrepreneurs in Congo which has been funded by members of Contributoria and so have created this particular image in a bid to spread the word here on my blog, via my newsletter, on Twitter and Facebook etc.
But it’s very easy to see how it could be powerfully applied to a news feature with multimedia elements emanating from a strong picture too.
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.