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Thread: Journalium

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Journalium's Avatar
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    Journalium

    Our startup is called Journalium and we are introducing a new kind of model for publishing. Writers set ransoms for their stories and interested readers can unlock them by chipping in. When the goal is reached, the story will be published immediately on our site.

    We will launch in month or so and we are looking for a high-quality stories to open with. So if you are interested signup here:

    www.journalium.com

    And here is little sneak peak of a design:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/8v1oej13qe...Journalium.png

  2. #2
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    What happens to the money if the story doesn't get funded?
    Emily Veinglory

  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Journalium's Avatar
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    Good question!

    If the story doesn't get funded, all the money will be refunded for the contributors. After that writer can choose to post new campaign with smaller "ransom" or to choose not to publish via our platform.

  4. #4
    Just the facts, please
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    The website is just a signup form, right? I'm on a mobile device and am not sure if I'm seeing the whole thing. Sorry if some of these questions are answered there.

    What is the writer's share of the proceeds?
    How are the reward levels and minimum contributor numbers set?
    Can money be contributed above the minimum ransom level, and if so, what happens to it?
    What kinds of journalism are you seeking? News, features, business, sports, food, arts, opinion? Local, national or international?
    Are you just seeking written stories, or photographic, audio and video reports as well?
    Once stories are published, will anyone be able to read them, or just donors to that project?
    What level of editing will you be performing?
    Will you have advances or mini-grants to assist with the up-front costs of reporting, or is that all borne by the reporter?
    How are you going to draw contributiors and readers to the site?
    Who are your key personnel and what are their backgrounds in journalism?
    Why should someone publish through you vs. seeking conventional publication with an established news outlet?

    These are all real questions. Your concept sounds intriguing, but there are some big holes in the information.

  5. #5
    Grr. Argh. Thedrellum's Avatar
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    A lot of people do this sort of thing already via Kickstarter or Indiegogo. What makes your site more attractive than those established crowdfunding sites that have, essentially, a guaranteed donor-pool to draw from?

    (Admittedly, many projects don't get funded there, but there's a pretty good chance that your publishing project will get seen.)

  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Journalium's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thedrellum View Post
    A lot of people do this sort of thing already via Kickstarter or Indiegogo. What makes your site more attractive than those established crowdfunding sites that have, essentially, a guaranteed donor-pool to draw from?

    (Admittedly, many projects don't get funded there, but there's a pretty good chance that your publishing project will get seen.)
    The concept is little bit different. In Kickstarter/Indiegogo you raise money to write a story that you will later publish somewhere else. In Journalium you set ransoms for a story you have already written and if goal is met, the story will be published immediately on our site.

  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Journalium's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JournoWriter View Post
    The website is just a signup form, right? I'm on a mobile device and am not sure if I'm seeing the whole thing. Sorry if some of these questions are answered there.

    What is the writer's share of the proceeds?
    How are the reward levels and minimum contributor numbers set?
    Can money be contributed above the minimum ransom level, and if so, what happens to it?
    What kinds of journalism are you seeking? News, features, business, sports, food, arts, opinion? Local, national or international?
    Are you just seeking written stories, or photographic, audio and video reports as well?
    Once stories are published, will anyone be able to read them, or just donors to that project?
    What level of editing will you be performing?
    Will you have advances or mini-grants to assist with the up-front costs of reporting, or is that all borne by the reporter?
    How are you going to draw contributiors and readers to the site?
    Who are your key personnel and what are their backgrounds in journalism?
    Why should someone publish through you vs. seeking conventional publication with an established news outlet?

    These are all real questions. Your concept sounds intriguing, but there are some big holes in the information.
    Thanks for the good questions. Here's some answers:

    -Yes, at this moment the website is just signup form where you can signup for updates. We are still in prelaunch and we are now collecting stories that will be already on our site when we launch in month or two.

    -We will take percentage fee from succesfully funded campaigns. We haven't yet decided what it will be, but it will be probably around 15%. That will include all the payment fees etc. so there won't be any hidden costs. The rest of the money (around 85%) will of course for writer alone.

    -If the the funding is not met, all the money will be refunded to contributors.

    -We are concentrating on high-quality long-form investigative articles about any topic. The articles that are all ready submitted deal with subjects like technology, politics, economics and culture.

    -We are mainly interested about written content, but writer can add pictures or videos to their story.

    -Once stories are published everyone will be able to read them for free. Writer can offer perks for bigger contributors like Google Hangout sessions or whatever they want. But that is entirely optional, although it probably will make it easier to raise the money.

    -We will give very open hand to writers and we do very little editing ourselves. We just make sure that story represents high-quality journalism and delivers what it promises before we submit it to the public.

    -We will offer advantages for their writers who contribute for our site prelaunch. After we get some traction I hope that it won't be necessary but early on we will offer that to give some safety for writers.

    -We are young startup guys with technology background and we do not have any publishing background. That's why we are not trying to be "editors in chief", but instead we are trying to offer best possible technological platform for our writers. But of course we have a big passion for writing/reading and journalism and that is the reason we are doing this.

    -There are many reasons for why someone should use our site instead of traditional ways of publishing. It of course depends on person. Probably reasons are pretty same than in cases when someone choose to use personal blog or Kickstarter campaign instead of magazine for example.

    You are absolutely right that there was very many holes in information. We are still in very stealth-base with out concept and in prelaunch we are just trying to collect quality articles to launch. Thank you for the good questions, I hope I was able to deliver at least some information!

    All of you can always contact me via email too: aleksi at journalium dot com
    Last edited by Journalium; 08-23-2013 at 03:29 AM.

  8. #8
    Ooo! Shiny new cover! Absolute Sage Cathy C's Avatar
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    So is it up to the author to go out and find people to pay the ransom, or do you, as the eventual publisher, vigorously market the books to the public to find the ransom-ees?
    Want FREE reads? Click here!

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  9. #9
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    As I understand these are not books but more along the lines of journalism and essays?
    Emily Veinglory

  10. #10
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Journalium's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cathy C View Post
    So is it up to the author to go out and find people to pay the ransom, or do you, as the eventual publisher, vigorously market the books to the public to find the ransom-ees?
    It will be fairly similar than with Kickstarter or similar sites. We will of course vigorously market people to our site and we will feature best stories in our tweets, newsletters etc, but big part of the marketing will be left for the the campaign owner like in crowdfunding in general. But we will of course assist writers anyway we can.

    And I want to clarify that we are not (at least yet) publishing books, but just long-form articles.

  11. #11
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    So who vets your writers and their stories? What about libel and lawsuits?

    Who is your audience? Who do you anticipate purchasing these stories? I cannot imagine a legitimate newspaper/magazine purchasing a "ransomed" story, nor can I imagine an individual reader doing such as thing. (As evidenced by established newspapers' issues with getting readers to pay for online content, etc. But perhaps you have evidence that this business model would work on a smaller scale of paying per story vs. paying for access?)

    Have you had any consultants from the journalism industry?

    ETA: I stand corrected. Apparently Atavist has actually partnered with some media outlets. And Journalium points out another site where individual readers can pay per story.
    Last edited by wampuscat; 08-23-2013 at 04:24 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by wampuscat View Post
    So who vets your writers and their stories? What about libel and lawsuits?

    Who is your audience? Who do you anticipate purchasing these stories? I cannot imagine a legitimate newspaper/magazine purchasing a "ransomed" story, nor can I imagine an individual reader doing such as thing. (As evidenced by established newspapers' issues with getting readers to pay for online content, etc. But perhaps you have evidence that this business model would work on a smaller scale of paying per story vs. paying for access?)
    I'm not sure what you mean about lawsuits. Would you please care to elaborate little more?

    Our audience is people who love high-quality long-form journalism. There are for example Kickstarter campaigns that have raised thousands of dollars for long-form journalism. I believe that people will be ready to support long-form journalism as long as we will make sure that all the stories will be insanely great. And of course like with all the crowdfunding, most of the writers will probably offer some additional perks for their contributors besides the story.

  13. #13
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Journalium's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wampuscat View Post
    Have you had any consultants from the journalism industry?
    Yes, I have contacted local journalist (I am from Finland, by the way) with background in investigative journalism and I have gotten great feedback from them that has helped me to modify Journalium to suit better for writers needs.

  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Journalium's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    As I understand these are not books but more along the lines of journalism and essays?
    You are absolutely right. We will publish same kind of content than for example www.readmatter.com or www.atavist.com

  15. #15
    Recovering adjective addict
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    Quote Originally Posted by Journalium View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean about lawsuits. Would you please care to elaborate little more?
    I am only familiar with journalism in the US (And I'm FAR from an expert, though I did work in the industry for a few years.), but lawsuits are not an uncommon thing. Every person I know with a journalism degree has taken at least one media law course.

    I could see a situation where a well-meaning but unpracticed writer is accused, rightly or wrongly, of libel or some other issue, especially in cases of investigative journalism, which is broadly defined by some. Or where an unscrupulous writer commits libel under the guise of "journalism."

    Would lawsuits fall fully on the shoulders of the writers or would the site be potentially at fault as well? Would your organization keep an attorney for things such as this?

    In addition, in the US, journalists sometimes require lawyers or legal action in order to gain access to documentation, etc., for their investigative reporting.

    Just something to think about. You may already have considered these things.

    You are absolutely right. We will publish same kind of content than for example www.readmatter.com or www.atavist.com
    Interesting. I may be behind the times, but I didn't realize these existed or were viable.

    BTW, I don't wish to be combative; I just bristle at the idea of how widely the term "journalism" is used and the perceptions that many have of "the media." I usually auto-assume the worst, which is why I asked about who vets the stories and writers.
    Last edited by wampuscat; 08-23-2013 at 04:25 AM.

  16. #16
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Journalium's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wampuscat View Post
    I am only familiar with journalism in the US (And I'm FAR from an expert, though I did work in the industry for a few years.), but lawsuits are not an uncommon thing. Every person I know with a journalism degree has taken at least one media law course.

    I could see a situation where a well-meaning but unpracticed writer is accused, rightly or wrongly, of libel or some other issue, especially in cases of investigative journalism, which is broadly defined by some. Or where an unscrupulous writer commits libel under the guise of "journalism."

    Would lawsuits fall fully on the shoulders of the writers or would the site be potentially at fault as well? Would your organization keep an attorney for things such as this?

    In addition, in the US, journalists sometimes require lawyers or legal action in order to gain access to documentation, etc., for their investigative reporting.

    Just something to think about. You may already have considered these things.
    Thank you for mentioning that. We have been living largely in a "techno-bubble" and we should definitely think more about the legal side. Because we will use very little editorial power, so writer's have to take largely responsibility for what they write. Probably we will write some kind of user agreement that will take care of that. I should really consult lawyer for that.

    And of course we will check that we aren't publishing anything obviously criminal.

  17. #17
    Just the facts, please
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    So you are asking people to commit right now to an unproven site without knowing what their revenue share will be in advance? I don't mean to be critical, but why would anyone do that? As a tech person, would you sign up for a job without knowing how much you'd get paid?

  18. #18
    Just the facts, please
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    Thank you for mentioning that. We have been living largely in a "techno-bubble" and we should definitely think more about the legal side. Because we will use very little editorial power, so writer's have to take largely responsibility for what they write. Probably we will write some kind of user agreement that will take care of that. I should really consult lawyer for that.

    And of course we will check that we aren't publishing anything obviously criminal.
    The fact that you have not done this yet tells me you're not even close to having this venture ready - or that you are taking what you're doing seriously. Conventional publishers use editors for a reason: to make sure stories are the highest quality possible, and to guard against libel, privacy issues and other potential legal problems. Good journalism, particularly of the investigative sort, often has a lot of nuance that takes an experienced editor to handle. Copy does not just flow from the writer to the public.

    Publishers also typically stand behind their writers in legal challenges, except where it's obvious the writer did something wrong. You are seeking to be a publisher and reap rewards without assuming any of the risk or having any skin in the game yourself.

    That's not how this business works.

  19. #19
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Journalium's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JournoWriter View Post
    So you are asking people to commit right now to an unproven site without knowing what their revenue share will be in advance? I don't mean to be critical, but why would anyone do that? As a tech person, would you sign up for a job without knowing how much you'd get paid?
    You are right, but you know what? The beauty of internet is that it's all voluntary. If you don't like to use our platform, you do not have to. I already have writers that are interested to contribute for different reasons and I am doing my best so that the experience will be best possible for them. Sure there is still long way to go but you have to start somewhere.

    And I am not really trying to compete with New York Times or anything like that. I am just trying to create alternative platform for writers that cannot publish with traditional methods for one reason or another. At least for now, Journalium probably isn't best way for professional journalists, but I would imagine that it might be useful for example for bloggers who now write everything for free. With Journalium they might be able to give their readers little bit more in depth stories and they could make some money with it.

  20. #20
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Journalium's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JournoWriter View Post
    So you are asking people to commit right now to an unproven site without knowing what their revenue share will be in advance? I don't mean to be critical, but why would anyone do that? As a tech person, would you sign up for a job without knowing how much you'd get paid?
    Like I already have written, I will pay advances for writers. And if they goal is not met, they can publish they article somewhere else if they want to.

  21. #21
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Journalium's Avatar
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    I just wrote a little blog post that explains philosophy behind Journalium.

    https://medium.com/p/31d5b496f7fb

  22. #22
    On a small world west of wonder LindaJeanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Journalium View Post
    -We are young startup guys with technology background and we do not have any publishing background. That's why we are not trying to be "editors in chief", but instead we are trying to offer best possible technological platform for our writers. But of course we have a big passion for writing/reading and journalism and that is the reason we are doing this.
    I just want to say THANK YOU for being upfront about this. You wouldn't believe how many start-ups come here and try to hide their lack of publishing experience by oblique and -- frankly -- deceptive descriptions of their credentials (and then get huffy when people try to ask for specifics). It's very refreshing to see someone who's honest about where their strengths do and don't lie.
    "A story told, that can't be real / yet somehow must reflect the truth we feel..." -- Black Sabbath / Ronnie James Dio

  23. #23
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    I agree that it's wonderful that you're being upfront about everything, and I appreciate your philosophy as you stated in your blog post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Journalium View Post
    I just wrote a little blog post that explains philosophy behind Journalium.

    https://medium.com/p/31d5b496f7fb
    Please take this with the knowledge that I'm trying to be helpful, but you may scare off serious writers with the number of typos, etc., in that blog post.

    Also keep in mind that you may want to investigate and define what you consider "high-quality" journalism and perhaps consider some sort of ethical standards for your writers. There are many, many very good bloggers out there, but that does not necessarily mean that most bloggers would be good investigative journalists. I've worked as a copy editor with stringers, freelance writers, "citizen journalists," etc. Some of the ones I worked with may be capable of what you are describing, but some are certainly not. (Same goes for professional journalists, I suppose.) From an outsider's perspective, I would be wary about the quality of the content if you are not able to vet the writers and provide editing.

    If you look at the two sites you mentioned, there is heavy emphasis on editorial quality, journalism experience, etc. In addition, MATTER has a targeted subject matter and audience.
    Last edited by wampuscat; 08-23-2013 at 08:02 PM.

  24. #24
    Just the facts, please
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    Thumbs down

    I hope that this does not come across as too harsh, but this venture is playing with fire. There needs to be a reality check.

    Good intentions aren't enough, sorry. This project may have the best tech in the world behind it, but as described by its own organizer, it's a bad idea for writers.

    Being a reputable publisher of journalism, especially investigative reporting, requires people with solid editorial backgrounds. This site does not have that, not have its owners apparently thought about any of the legal ramifications of publishing articles on sensitive topics. That should be the biggest red flag.

    Probably we will write some kind of user agreement that will take care of that. I should really consult lawyer for that.


    Yes, you really should. You should have done that long before you started soliciting submissions. The fact that you have not, and that you talk about it in so offhand a manner, shouts amateur.

    All of the writer-related questions raised here should have had immediate, detailed answers. This seems to be a make-it-up-as-we-go-along enterprise.

    The additional lack of editorial oversight and editing should greatly concern any writer. The international nature of online publishing has changed some things, but any publisher seeking to publish works in English should be able to communicate competently in that language. The volume of errors here speaks volumes.

    I also question the basic business model. Without significant marketing, how are prospective "ransomers" going to find the site? The established longform journalism sites - Atavist, Byliner, etc. - all do heavy promotion, have people with broad publishing experience, and typically use ebooks and ebook platforms (Amazon, etc.) to reach an even wider audience. I'm not sure why anyone would seek out Journalium as an information source - or what makes it a better deal for writers OR readers than the other options out there.

    We also do not know who you are. It is very difficult to trust an anonymous online persona.

    One last thing.

    Journalium wrote:

    Like I already have written, I will pay advances for writers.
    No, you did not write that. You wrote:

    We will offer advantages for their writers who contribute for our site prelaunch.
    The fact that you do not understand the difference between "advances" and "advantages" is itself very telling.

  25. #25
    practical experience, FTW girlyswot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JournoWriter View Post
    The fact that you do not understand the difference between "advances" and "advantages" is itself very telling.
    To me, that's mostly telling about the fact that the OP's first language is not English.

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