Thursday, October 31, 2013

Business of writing - on Omidyar, Greenwald & new media

There were some fascinating pieces in the past few weeks covering the business of writing, in particular stories on a forthcoming startup news site backed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar (who I posted about back in 2009) and with noted investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald as a key principal.

The first piece that stood out to me as interesting on the venture was for the New York Times by David Carr. "An Interview With Pierre Omidyar" notes how Omidyar looking at an investment in the $250M range and in his now hometown created Honolulu Civil Beat, a site Carr described as doing "public affairs reporting with an eye toward giving citizens a look into the affairs of government."

Also about the new site was for Nieman Journalism Lab with Adrienne LaFrance writing "What does Pierre Omidyar see in journalism?" It was tremendously interesting stuff from someone who worked at Honolulu Civil Beat alongside Omidyar and whose description of that still ongoing site fairly closely matches that from Carr, with LaFrance saying "Omidyar’s goal for us was simple and neutral: Ask tough questions on behalf of the public to make this community a better place."

In terms of Greenwald as a lead investigative journalist for the new venture, he's known for receiving and reporting on NSA surveillance documents from Edward Snowden and just today, Greenwald did the interesting essay "On Leaving the Guardian" in which he wrote about journalism, it's role and importance.

Only in part about the site backed by Omidyar was an interesting short piece by Hamish McKenzie and Sarah Lacy to the website PandoDaily. "Vox’s new mega-round puts a bow on content’s 'holy shit' moment" covered the abundance of new media sites in recent years and high valuations on many of them. It was fascinating stuff and brought to mind Lacy's 2008 book Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good (which I reviewed in the first few months of my writing this blog). On this same theme of hot new media companies, I was reminded of the service that to me helps make it possible for them to thrive, Twitter. The best writing I recall on the company and the power of it's links (literally) was by Clay Travis with "2011 belonged to Twitter, so does the future of sports media" for his college football focused sports website Outkick the Coverage.