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January 25, 2013 in Distribution, Resources

Atavist is a media and software company at the forefront of digital, mobile publishing. Our mission is to enable the next generation of multimedia storytelling, reaching readers across mobile devices and the Web.

Our flagship publishing arm, The Atavist—built on Atavist Create—features original pieces of longform, nonfiction journalism. Sold individually on mobile devices and e-readers as “e-singles,” The Atavist is digital-first, pushing the boundaries of multimedia publishing while always emphasizing the story above all. …

Our storytelling platform, first developed to power The Atavist, now lets anyone seamlessly integrate text, audio, video, and interactive elements into ebooks, digital magazines, and other publications, and then effortlessly publish into an iPad or iPhone app, for Kindle and Nook e-readers, and for Web browsers (in HTML5). We designed it to be the ultimate creation platform for the digital, mobile age.

The Atavist for Enterprise program helps create apps and ebooks for clients as diverse as the TED Conferences, Pearson, and The Paris Review.” Source: The Atavist

The Atavist’s founders — Evan Ratliff, Jefferson Rabb and Nicholas Thompson — are hardly the first three guys to pound away on keyboards and come up with something that attracted the attention of Silicon Valley luminaries. But most of the time the start-ups manufacture code, not journalism.

The Atavist’s brain trust may have meager credentials as entrepreneurs, but they have deep bona fides in publishing: Mr. Ratliff, the chief executive of The Atavist, is a longtime contributor to Wired magazine; Mr. Thompson is the editor of; and Mr. Rabb, the chief technology officer, spent much of his professional life designing Web sites for books. …

The small digital publishing company received good notices early on for coming up with a template for articles that seamlessly integrated video, easily toggled between print and audio versions, and let the reader control text size, scrolling rate and other features. …

Part of the reason The Atavist works is that it meets a need that its founders had in their own lives, much the way Facebook did for its founders, and was not conceived in a bald effort to exploit a market. They wanted a tool and a platform that would be fungible enough to allow articles to be sold for the iPad, the Kindle and other e-readers. Because they and others used the software, the technology has been tweaked in very practical ways.” Source: David Carr, The New York Times

Becoming an Entrepreneurial Journalist: From Idea to Implementation

October 25, 2012 in Education, Resources

So, you have an idea for a new journalism start-up. You’re thinking about making the plunge, but you’re not sure whether the entrepreneurial life is for you. Or maybe you’ve decided to launch a venture, and you’re looking guidance in the crucial weeks and months at the beginning of your project.

This course aims to give participants the knowledge and tools needed to launch content-driven news/information websites. We’ll take you from idea to implementation and, when necessary, help you retool or replace ideas with better versions.

If you’re considering starting a news or information-oriented website, this course will help you decide whether an entrepreneurial path is the right one for you. And if you’re looking for a crash course on starting a business, it will show you the ropes, point you to the right resources and help you formulate the questions you most need answers to.” Source: Poynter’s News University

Rules of the Road: Navigating the New Ethics of Local Journalism

August 16, 2012 in Community, Craft, Resources

With journalism entrepreneurs launching local news startups at a rapid pace, the local news landscape is evolving ­– and so are the rules of the road guiding ethical decisions.

Where a bright ethical line once separated a newsroom from its business operations, one person now often wears multiple hats, as editor, business manager and grants writer. Site publishers navigate new kinds of critical decisions daily. This guide examines a number of them. You can click to any topic in any order. Or, you can cruise through the Table of Contents.

On every page you’ll find a box that says, “Share your story.” We invite you to weigh in with an ethical problem you faced – and your solution.  Your participation will help inform a work in progress.” Source: J-Lab

Fifteen site operators and one digital ethicist candidly discuss dilemmas they’ve confronted and the solutions they’ve reached. The good news, [J-Lab Executive Director Jan] Schaffer said, is that the internal compasses of community news site founders are working well. Indeed, many actually draw more stringent rules for behavior than traditional news organizations do.

“We’ve seen how entrepreneurial news startups are trying to responsibly fill gaps in investigative journalism. With this publication, we see how local news startups are meeting new challenges of covering community news,” said Bob Ross, president and CEO of Ethics and Excellence Journalism Foundation.” Source: J-Lab

Entrepreneurial Journalism: How to Build What’s Next for News

February 24, 2012 in Distribution, Resources, Revenue

The digital revolution that provides so many options for news consumers also means massive opportunity for journalists. The trick: see the disruption as an opening you can attack. Entrepreneurial Journalism will inspire you with what’s possible and show you the mechanics behind building a business. Working through eight clear and concise stages, you’ll explore the secrets of successful news startups (including how they’re making money) and learn how to be an upstart yourself, building an innovative and sustainable news business from scratch.

Each chapter starts with a real entrepreneur’s experience, teasing out how savvy and opportunistic journalists found their way to success. Mark Briggs then helps you size up the market, harness technology, turn your idea into a product or service, explore revenue streams, estimate costs, and launch. “Build Your Business” action items at the end of each chapter get you thinking through each step of your business plan.” Source: CQ Press

Newsonomics: How the emerging business of digital news shapes what we read and know

December 28, 2011 in Education, Resources, Revenue, Technology

[I]t’s never been more true: a book is a snapshot. I’m glad I got the opportunity to write the Newsonomics book. It gave me a couple of months to step back from the sometimes-maddening pace of the 24/7 Twitter-driven news world and think about the big, impactful trends driving what the news itself is becoming, what we all will be able to read, hear and see.

With the book now being published [2010], I’m launching It’s my effort to build on the trends driving daily change in the press, and help me keep track of them, and how they relate to each other. As I keep track, I hope is helpful to you in keeping track as well. I’ve thought about what keeping track means, and the site design, ably done by Randa Clay, reflects that:

  • 5Spot: My new quick-take, mostly daily feature highlights what I think are top developments to note, and why, out of the daily torrent.
  • The Skinny: Here, I highlight data and quotes that we simply shouldn’t pass over too quickly; ones picked off the conveyor best of soundbites and reports. Some of the data will come from my Outsell work; some of it from other sources. Here, too, you’ll see writing from others in the industry I’ve tapped to contributed their deep and specific knowledge. To begin with, I’ve tapped two people on the money side of the biz. Some of you will recall AdMan from Content Bridges, an experienced (and anonymous) print ad executive, with a keen perspective on marketplace change. You’ll also now find “Ask the Agency Guy,” contributions from Tim Perlstein, a Director of Strategy at digital agency Razorfish. (Of course, his comments represent his personal views, and not necessarily those of Razorfish or its clients.)
  • Content Bridges: I’ve been writing my Content Bridges blog since 2005 and will continue to do so. The posts can still be found there, and on Newsonomics.
  • Touts: I point to top posts from familiar and unfamiliar places that I think contribute to our collective understanding. PermaTouts is my page pointing to key sites and bloggers who I think are must-reads.

Plus: It’s all searchable. That searchability comes in especially handy as we’ve added in five years of Content Bridges and Outsell posts as well.” Source: Newsonomics

Knight Digital Media Center

November 23, 2011 in Craft, Education, Resources, Technology

The Knight Digital Media Center was launched in April 2006 to focus on helping journalists succeed in the rapidly changing media landscape of the 21st Century.

The Center provides competitive fellowships to traditional journalists from print and broadcast media who seek multimedia skill training and want to make the transition to New Media journalism. The goal is to provide the foundation of technical skills and story-telling techniques required by New Media platforms. This training is done at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism under the supervision of Lanita Pace-Hinton, director of multimedia training programs for the Center.

For digitally fluent journalists, who have already crossed the bridge into New Media newsrooms, the Center provides training fellowships at USC Annenberg School for seminars focused on professional growth, critical thinking, digital leadership and news entrepreneurship. The goal is to increase the depth and sophistication of their work and their understanding of the changing news ecology. This training is under the supervision of Vikki Porter, director of the Center.

The Knight Digital Media Center is built on the foundation of the Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism which trained more than 750 professional journalists between 2000 and 2006, as well as providing at least 75,000 more journalists with access to resources and online training opportunities through the efforts of its fellows. Archives of the WKC seminars are available at” Source: Knight Digital Media Center

The Story So Far: What We Know About the Business of Digital Journalism

August 18, 2011 in Craft, Distribution, Resources, Revenue

Can digital journalism be profitable? What’s making money, what isn’t, and why? A new report from Columbia University faculty members Bill Grueskin, academic dean of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and Ava Seave, principal at Quantum Media and adjunct professor at the Columbia Business School, addresses these questions about the financial state of digital journalism. The report provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the business challenges that for-profit news organizations face with their digital ventures. The report is being issued by the school’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism, which is committed to the research and advancement of journalism on digital platforms. Grueskin, Seave, and Ph.D. candidate Lucas Graves spent several months reporting on-site at news organizations—some founded over a century ago and others created in the past year or two. Based on the resulting body of data, they examine how news organizations allocate resources, explore what patterns are emerging in revenue streams, and draw conclusions about how companies might generate revenue more effectively. The report is divided into nine chapters covering advertising models at a diverse array of news organizations, alternative platforms, new revenue streams, audience engagement and more.” SourceColumbia Journalism School


April 14, 2011 in Community, Craft, Experiments, Resources

Founded in January 2009, PubliCola is a blog about Seattle written by journalists who are dedicated to non-partisan, original daily reporting that prioritizes a balanced approach to news. Started by longtime local editor and award-winning reporter Josh Feit, PubliCola is the first online-only news site in state history to get media credentials to cover the state capitol.

PubliCola was off and running. In June 2009, PubliCola hired another award-winning journalist, super-sourced Seattle city hall reporter Erica C. Barnett.

People were afraid that blogging would change journalism. Instead, we believe journalism can change blogging. 21st-Century journalism may look and feel different, and yes Erica isn’t afraid to get cranky, but we’re committed to making sure online news still delivers independent, reliable, even-keeled coverage. And most of all, we’re committed to making sure the coverage sparks honest civic debate.

Bringing you cola for the people, PubliCola is named after Publius Valerius PubliCola, the alias for the authors of the Federalist Papers—the original bloggers.”   Source: PubliCola

Next Door Media

April 14, 2011 in Community, Craft, Experiments, Resources

Next Door Media is a network of ten trusted neighborhood news sites and a regional portal in the North Seattle area, the first of its kind in the country and the most-trafficked in the city.

Founded in Ballard in early 2008 by two longtime journalists, Kate and Cory Bergman, Next Door Media is committed to creating a community-powered approach to local journalism while providing sustainable value for advertisers.

Unlike many blogs, Next Door Media’s sites are authored by experienced journalists who produce original, objective news coverage. Next Door Media’s won a 2009 Online Journalism Award for community collaboration, beating the LA Times and Miami Herald for the award. And won the national Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for deadline reporting.”  Source: Next Door Media