Next month, an earnest journalism startup called Latterly will embark on a bold experiment: whether it’s possible to run a business solely based on releasing high-quality nonfiction stories to the world.
Based in Bangkok, Thailand, Latterly will publish four new elaborate works of narrative journalism — with characters, plot, conflict, resolution, and all — on its website every month. The startup will charge readers $3 per month or $8 for a three-month subscription.
Aside from subscriptions, Latterly will have financial support from donors. But the list of obvious revenue sources ends there. There will be no ads — a quirk one sees occasionally with fledgling journalism startups there days. What’s more, the startup will apparently not care one drop about what takes off among readers and what doesn’t.
“Most importantly, we don’t care about clicks. We won’t monitor our traffic,” Latterly declares on its website.
That’s a radical perspective in this page-view-centric journalism era, as websites clamor for attention with clickbait headlines, constant social-media promotion, and other gimmicks. Even newspapers like the Oregonian in Portland, Ore., have pushed reporters to focus on metrics like story count.
Latterly’s strategy, unconventional as it is, makes sense given the experiences of the people behind it.
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