Newsprint, long-form, paper roll
Credit: Image by Jinx! on Flickr. Some rights reserved

A new platform is to launch which will allow journalists to publish long-form content and charge for individual articles.

Beacon Publishing is aiming to provide an easy solution for journalists looking to publish to the web but have a paywall in place, to export to open formats such as epub, and to create native editions for tablets and e-reading devices.

The Muckraker, which is to publish investigative articles covering government and the public sector in Northern Ireland, will be the first publication to use Beacon Publishing when it launches its first long-form article later this month. A full commercial launch of Beacon Publishing will take place in August.

Kevin McGrath, the Beacon's co-founder, said the idea is to let "writers focus on writing" while the platform will "do the boring stuff".

With the development of long-form publishing projects such as Matter, which charges $0.99 per article, McGrath believes that journalists who have built an individual brand on social media will benefit from self-publishing their own articles.

The platform will "combine the best of the web with the best of that lean-back experience" of tablets and e-reading devices.

By using "web technologies, optimised for desktop, tablet and mobile", Beacon Publishing will offer three solutions for journalists looking to monetise content. The first is to publish to the web with a paywall, the second option is to export to epub and and other open format technologies, and the third is to publish natively to devices such as the iPad and Kindle.

McGrath told that those involved in Beacon Publishing are from a design background and are keen to make the reading experience "beautiful and distraction-free", using typography and other features that are "perfect for long-form".

He cited Medium, which has recently acquired Matter, as following the type of design Beacon Publishing is aiming for.

Beacon sample cover
A sample front cover of a publication using Beacon

Beacon Publishing will not take commission on sales but will instead charge a flat monthly fee, with pricing plans starting at around £15.

The Northern Ireland-based start-up is looking for launch partners, which will be initially exempt from the monthly charge. (You can contact Beacon via the website.)

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