Publish.org, a platform aiming to become “the internet’s news desk”, is now open in public beta after publishing its first articles earlier in November.
The site is championing open, peer-reviewed journalism, and currently has two calls for pitches from writers around the world who would like to get involved.
Publish.org will have open and transparent processes to help independent journalists find a place for their stories, an audience, editorial guidance and clarity about payment.
"These are all fundamental questions for people who work independently of news desks, so we aim to put that structure in so people know where they can come with the story, what happens to it, and how it will be treated," said Sarah Hartley, editor, Publish.org.
"One of the lessons from Contributoria was how many people actually really want to be part of the process and have something interesting and useful to say, and if you can give them a platform to do that you're opening up a whole new world of possibility for the journalism trade," explained Matt McAlister, chief executive of Publish.org.
"Contributoria was incredibly open, incredibly free form, and we're going to put a little bit more structure around things."
At Publish.org, the process of producing peer-reviewed journalism is currently under development.
For pitches submitted through the open calls, guidance is available from the editorial board, and community members who wish to contribute will also be given access through a system that’s likely to borrow from the web development community.
The Stack Overflow model for example requires users to build different levels of reputation that determine how they are able to engage with the community, what they can post, or what they can flag. This principle can be adapted in a journalistic context, said McAlister.
"Before you can post you have to contribute in a positive way and do it a certain number of times, and that sets the tone for what your interaction is with the community."
Stories that can find a home on Publish.org will be organised under six channels: ethics, democracy, solutions, culture, geography, and science.
The open commissions are looking for pitches “considering the past and future for Europe" ("Our Europe"), and pitches for stories about democracy more generally.
Journalists can set their own rate for commissions, and the team is currently hoping to receive more contributions from writers across Europe.
Publish.org is funded through a combination of member donations, partnerships, and foundation grants.
The team has raised €160,667 (£141,764) in its first year, and it's now looking to raise another €300,000 (£264,705) in order to improve the platform and fund more stories.
"One of the things that we want to do is finish the software, get it in a really nice state where people are happy with it and it's doing all the right things, and then internationalise it,” said McAlister.
The software will also eventually be open-sourced, and new companies will be able to build entirely new media brands using it – partnerships in this area could also help fund the core business of Publish.org in the future.
"We want to get to a point where we are fuelling quality independent journalism wherever it is, we want to be part of that environment where we have a healthy ecosystem," he added.
"And I think part of the way that we'll help is with software and the community itself, and that becomes one of the core differentiators for us."
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