This will be old news to many, but in the light of The New Republic’s meltdown, I have been nosing around new digital approaches to what is (loosely speaking) journalism, or maybe publishing, or at least, typing. Herewith, a brief list.
Cir.ca is a news service (currently only for mobile, but coming to the browser). Nicely presented stories, gives you a simple way to follow any particular beat you are interested in, as well as sharing of course. Not sure if this will become part of my regular news diet, but in the emerging world of “journalism apps” seems like one that solves a problem.
Medium is platform rather than a publication as nearly as I can tell, and certainly handsome. It seems to be open to any kind of long form material, by professionals or duffers. Like Cir.ca, has a very striking design (although some will not be a fan of the wide horizontal one-page scroll approach–something that is all over current web design). Medium comes from the people who created Twitter, and presumably they aimed for the same kind of pick up. Upstart Biz Journal’s Alex Dalenberg was asking good questions a year ago about it–how their business model will work? and just what kind of tool it is? He also mentions something that a writer friend also pointed out, the license appears to let Medium sell your content, presumably in search of “sustainability”. (Like “platform” and “content,” another drab word.)
As far as I know, those questions are still out, and he also links to some weirdly fascinating info about Medium’s business structure, called Holacracy. It boasts “no managers” and seems to be a distributed system. (Classic Google goose chase, I just learned about Holacracy researching Medium, and now I discover that it’s already contested: fad versus brilliant management approach? Zappo’s is finding out.)
Finally, there is Ghost, which is a blogging platform from some of the same people who worked on WordPress. It’s intuitively appealing and also beautifully designed–pared down for clean presentation and ease of posting. WordPress, of course, has a lot to offer, but its development as a powerful publishing platform means that for me, at least, its sort of blown past plain old blogging. I’m tempted to move everything to Ghost, but, of course, it’s a little like moving house if you have hundreds of posts to fool with, and since part of my living is made with WordPress, is nice to stay close to the platform, even if I use 1% of its power. Ghost, like WordPress.com, has a more writer-friendly license than Medium (although, like anything online, they reserve the right to change it any time.) But you own your stuff, and their only right is to post snippets for promotional purposes.