Sarah Hartley

Getting independent journalism to new audiences @Contributoria

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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 EcologistTruth Out, Yes! MagazineROAR 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.

Written by sarahhartley

September 9th, 2014 at 9:46 am

Journo stuff I’ve collected on 08/28/2014

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Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Written by sarahhartley

August 28th, 2014 at 4:30 pm

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Journo stuff I’ve collected on 08/27/2014

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  • tags: market freelance

      • You know that thing where you suddenly get tagged into a conversation you’ve not initiated and wonder why you’re being bombarded on Twitter. Well that!I’m still at a loss as to why Contributoria, the platform I co-founded and which has funded freelance journalists to the tune of THOUSANDS of pounds, was involved in quite such a furore but….here it is. 
    • There doesn’t seem like there is going to be much settling down in the media landscape any time soon and it’s certainly not going to get flatter (or fairer). Asking how we can be more responsible in cultivating that landscape seems a more positive one than finding ways to deal with a set of increasingly conflicting expectations.

       

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Written by sarahhartley

August 27th, 2014 at 4:30 pm

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Journo stuff I’ve collected on 08/12/2014

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Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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August 12th, 2014 at 4:30 pm

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Journo stuff I’ve collected on 08/10/2014

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Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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August 10th, 2014 at 4:30 pm

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Journo stuff I’ve collected on 08/07/2014

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  • tags: multimedia journalist google glass videojournalism vj

    • The mobile phone accessories industry will also be hit. This assumption comes from how filmmakers and their propensity towards more reality e.g. hyperreality,  plays out.
       
       Anything that takes the fuss out of holding a camera as a community of head-mounted GoPros illustrate gives us a glimpse of how a permanent ‘google’ lens, which films 16g, will take its place.
       
       In virtual reality, as witnessed during the Chinese Expo, Glass users may enjoy 3D virtual environments, where non glass users see the world in sight-3D.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Written by sarahhartley

August 7th, 2014 at 4:30 pm

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Journo stuff I’ve collected on 08/06/2014

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Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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August 6th, 2014 at 4:30 pm

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Inside the UX Lab with Contributoria

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User testing, is not, as Contributoria designer Dean Vipond was at pains to stress, about the testing of users. No, it’s pretty much a poorly named activity which is more accurately a test of all the tools and processes we’ve been busy building for our writers on the crowdfunding journalism platform.

In my first visit to the mysterious UX Lab on the ground floor of Kings Place inside The Guardian (I’ve often walked past but not been invited in for all these years) I got to see first-hand exactly how some of our most experienced writers approach their work on the platform.

Contributoria.com is now in its 8th month and has grown to become the workplace of choice for many freelance journalists in the UK and elsewhere in the world looking for financial and professional support for longform writing across a huge range of topics.

Today’s session involved some invited writers from the London area who were asked to use some existing tools as well as consider some ways in which their day-today could be made easier and so more enjoyable.

The UX lab room itself looks how those interview rooms in police crime dramas are depicted – a large space divided by one way glass with the users and facilitator on the nicely decorated, bright and airy side of the space with the testers observing in the darkness of the other side, illuminated only by screens showing close-ups of the activity within.

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Cameras are located behind the user as well as focussed on hands and faces to track what happens in terms of keystrokes, mouse moves and expressions and, together with many microphones, the experience of the testing is beamed through to the testers behind the divide.

It was fascinating to see and hear from the writers as they were challenged with various activities such as formatting their work, finding and responding to comments and using the online currency of points to reward their peers with funding for articles.

The resulting notes capturing all the responses will now help us prioritise the development work for the next few weeks as we continue to evolve the site. Plenty more features to come and a big thank you to the writers who gave up some of their busy day to help us, it’s great to be working with you all.

If you’re an independent journalist looking for a marketplace for your work, feel free to check us out at Contributoria.com here.

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Written by sarahhartley

August 5th, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Journo stuff I’ve collected on 07/20/2014

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  • tags: journalism newsroom unconvergence

    • Today the trend has reversed towards newsroom disintegration: specific teams for specific platforms. You don’t use your tablet the same way as your computer and it requires specific attention from publishers. The newsroom will become a ‘control room’ with less people at desks and more journalists in the field. The notion of the ‘collective intelligence’ of journalists working in the same room will disappear.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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July 20th, 2014 at 4:30 pm

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Behind the scenes with the Contributoria printing presses

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Printing presses! I still haven’t quite got used to the idea that we now publish a printed thing at Contributoria.com after all these years of being a digital journalist.

The online journalism platform launched by three of us (myself, Matt McAlister and Dan Catt) at the start of this year is now coming out in print for monthly subscribers. This month’s issue is designed by Dean Vipond and Dan Catt, written and compiled by the community and available now!

Photographer Michelle Marshall went along with Matt to capture it rolling off the presses last night – and straight onto Virgin Atlantic planes and the Eurostar trains inserted inside The Guardian and being delivered to passengers flying to Paris, LA and New York!

Here’s a gallery of what it looked like as it was created by the Newspaper Club.

Written by sarahhartley

July 15th, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Posted in Journalism

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