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eByline, an online service that brings together freelance journalists and publishers looking for stories, announced today it has raised $1.5 million in its first round of funding from The E.W. Scripps Company.
The site, eByline.com, serves as a marketplace for freelance journalists and reporters to showcase their work and offer it up for syndication. Reporters can set whatever price they want for their work. Publishers can then pick and choose from individual stories and pay the reporter directly without having to set up any kind of subscription. eByline then takes an 8 percent cut of the transaction.
Not everyone can jump on the service as a freelance journalist, though. eByline requires that potential freelancers have samples of paid freelance reporting work from within the year prior to joining the service — commentary writing, which is what many leisure bloggers do, doesn’t count. Freelancers have to provide clips as well as have some educational background, although the site doesn’t specify what level of education is required. Reporters also need referrals from an editor or news organization and must be U.S. citizens (“due to tax reporting and payment processing”), although it looks like the service might be working to expand beyond that last restriction in the future.
Publishers can also sign up to distribute their content and can set their stories to be distributed under embargo if they choose. On this front, eByline is taking a crack at the major wire services, which provide a lot of content to daily newspapers and other news publications across the world. The major services — like Reuters, Bloomberg and Dow Jones — all provide content as part of a subscription. eByline hopes to buck that trend by providing content á la carte.
The Los Angeles, Calif.-based company was founded in 2009, but the service officially launched last month. Its partnered content publishers include ProPublica, business entertainment news magazine Variety, and some independent news publications like The Texas Observer. It has four employees.