Journalist. Digital strategist.

An unfinished list of ventures in journalism you should be watching (and why)

October 20, 2013 (updated on January 21, 2015)

One thing that makes current times so interesting for journalism is that everybody is still looking for a model that will work for journalism in the 21st century. Given the speed of technological change and the complexity of what is now the media landscape, it’s unlikely we’ll ever find a model that will work for more than a few years for more than a few publishers. The hype around native advertising or metered paywalls is primarily a manifestation of the hope for silver bullets.

There will have to be lots of experiments.

So here’s a list of journalism ventures worth watching closely, each for a different set of reasons.

I’m fully aware that this list falls short of highlighting all the movers and shakers in the field of journalism. That’s why I invite everyone to suggest additions (either in the comments section or via Twitter). My view is inevitably biased towards European and English language ventures, so I’m especially glad if you point me to ventures from Africa, South America and Asia.

For now, I’ve left out all the ventures that are entering the media sphere from a tech background, like Twitter, LinkedIn, Flipboard, Zite and many more. Neither have I included the likes of The New York Times or The Guardian, assuming that everyone is watching them already.

Aeon Magazine

What? London-based online magazine about «nature, culture and ideas».

Why? Simple concept, great content: one essay each weekday. The kind of venture to answer one of the key questions of the industry: How to fund quality content when you’re not subsidizing it?

Where? Aeon Magazine


What? Al Jazeera’s attempt to produce news for a generation that doesn’t watch news networks on TV anymore.

Why? How will disruption from within the TV industry fare against new players like NowThis?

Where? AJ+.


What? Trinity Mirror’s site for «socially shareable data journalism».

Why? How to make data journalism work in a tabloid context.

Where? Ampp3d


What? Publisher of multimedia stories via its own iOS app.

Why? For exploring the possibilities of multimedia storytelling (including sound!) and for being an antithesis to snowfallesque projects on the open web.

Where? Atavist


What? A site for investigative citizen journalism, founded by Eliot Higgins aka Brown Moses.

Why? Cutting-edge, web-based reporting by an «outsider» who manages to produce worldwide scoops. A perfect example of how journalism is no longer something only pros in large newsrooms do, but anyone with skills and passion to «commit acts of journalism».

Where? Bellingcat


What? Startup incubator, investor, builder based in New York City.

Why? With Digg, Instapaper, Tapestry and Bloglovin in their portfolio, they’ve only started connecting the dots (pun intended).

Where? Betaworks


What? An «iTunes for news», one app to access all news published in the Netherlands. Funded by NYT and Axel Springer to expand internationally.

Why? The idea of an «iTunes for news» has been around for years. This is the first all-in implementation of it and the news industry will be able to learn a lot from either its success or failure. Most interesting – because bold – feature: If a user didn’t like an article s/he just paid for, getting a refund is only a click away.

Where? Blendle


What? News app that curates individual story elements into mobile-friendly narratives.
Why? They are completely rethinking news narratives for the mobile age with what they call «atomisation of articles». Will be also interesting to watch how their use of notifications – based on what news a user is following – will evolve.
Where? Circa


What? Guardian-backed platform for writers to get funding and find collaborators for stories.
Why? Unlike other Kickstarter-esque platforms, Contributoria aims at covering the full cycle of a story, from proposal to publication. Will be interesting to watch if the community will grow strong enough and how it can eventually integrate with the Guardian.
Where? Contributoria


What? Non-profit investigative newsroom. A «German Pro Publica».
Why? Strong team, strong mission, strong initial funding. Can they become the «German Pro Publica», not just in terms of how they are organised, but in terms of impact?
Where? Correctiv

De Correspondent

What? Amsterdam-based site for in depth-reporting.

Why? Engaged subscribers and no advertisers – a model for the future?

Where? De Correspondent

Epic Magazine

What? Publisher of longform stories that have the potential to become movie scripts.

Why? How to plan lifecycle monetisation of big narratives.

Where? Epic Magazine

First Look Media

What? Digital news organisation, funded by billionaire Pierre Omidyar.

Why? How will First Look’s division into a for-profit technology company and a non-profit journalism side play out?

Where? First Look Media, The Intercept, First Look’s first vertical, headed by Glenn Greenwald.


What? General interest data journalism site, headed by Nate Silver, owned by ESPN.

Why? Can a site defined by a journalistic method find its audience?

Where? Fivethirtyeight


What? TV Channel aimed at millennials.

Why? They are assembling an all-star-team of young journalists (like Mariana Santos, Tim Pool, Felix Salmon, Alexis Madrigal). Their approach to let those journalists go to where their audience is rather than pulling the audience to them is something to watch and something more news organisations should be thinking about.

Where? Fusion

Gawker Media

What? The publisher behind blogs like Gawker, Lifehacker or Gizmodo.

Why? For constantly experimenting and innovating in reader involvement beyond comments, most notably with Kinja. Plus: Gawker licenses all its content under creative commons.

Where? Gawker Media

NEW Gimlet Media

What? A network of podcasts, so far «Startup» and «Reply All» have launched.

Why? Can podcasts scale enough to support a business of their own. What makes Gimlet so interesting to watch (ok, well: listen to) is that they document their own progress in their «Startup» podcast.

Where? Gimlet Media


What? Platform for storytelling around images and places.

Why? A novel, yet very intuitive approach to storytelling: You start short – when people ask you to «Tell more», you expand.

Where? Hi


What? Multinational, independent network of data journalists.

Why? As data journalism is still growing slowly within newsrooms, they are paving the way by producing exemplary work and educating others.

Where? Journalism++


What? Paris-based news site with ironclad paywall.

Why? How to be profitable with no advertising at all.

Where? Mediapart


What? A publishing platform by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone.

Why? Medium seems to evolve into a 21st century magazine publisher. The beauty of the site and the writing environment attract a lot of great content Medium doesn’t have to pay for.

Where? Medium, Matter, Medium’s strongest publication.

Mother Jones

What? Independent bimonthly magazine and news site based in San Francisco.

Why? A striking example of the strength of non-profit, reader and donation supported journalism.

Where? Mother Jones


What? New York City based digital magazine, dedicated on «sharing in-depth local stories with a universal appeal»

Why? This is what doubling down on local, human-interest narratives looks like. One topic each week, one piece per day, they use the full spectrum of storytelling means to make untold stories big.

Where? Narratively

News Deeply

What? The publisher behind Syria Deeply and Ebola Deeply.

Why? Take one big issue of our time, double down on it and become the go-to-source for anyone interested in it (while making more people interested in it in the first place). Next chapter about to be lauched: Arctic Deeply.

Where? Syria Deeply, Ebola Deeply

Next Draft

What? One man curation newsletter by Dave Pell.

Why? Curation is 50% finding the right content and 50% finding a distinct style to present it. Dave Pell is a model for both.

Where? Next Draft


What? News site that produces content specifically for social platforms like Instagram or Vine.

Why? How to produce content that not only spreads over social media, but actually works right there?

Where? NowThis


What? Paid, digital-only news venture, inspired by Quartz, launched by Switzerland’s most renowned newspaper.

Why? Will enough people pay? The bet is on reducing noise, by focusing on briefs and context/opinion.



What? Collaborative platform from Chile (translates as Powerpedia) to uncover relationships between people, companies and organizations in power.

Why? Rather than pinning the news cycle, they are visualising the fabric that explains a lot about why in in what context some things are happening.

Where? Poderopedia

NEW Politico Europe

What? Joint-venture by Politico and Axel Springer to bring Politico to Europe.

Why? Can Politico establish itself as the first strong pan-European news site?

Where? yet to be launched


What? Business news site, founded by The Atlantic in 2012.

Why? Very resource-effective with their browser-only approach and highly standardised article formats and charts. The biggest takeaway is from their editorial approach, though: They make people read business news who didn’t know they were interested in business.

Where? Quartz


What? A «global news community» by First Look Media, headed by Andy Carvin

Why? What’s possible if a news organisation is freed from the need to pull people to their site and can report and publish wherever there is an audience?


NEW Serial Podcast

What? Blockbuster podcast success of 2014, one large investigation, told in episodes. Next season due in 2015.

Why? Put the success formula of tv dramas to work for journalism, introducing podcasts to the mainstream along the way. Where can they take it from there?

Where? Serial Podcast


What? A «news agency of the social media age» from Dublin, Ireland. Acquired by News Corp. in December 2013.

Why? The news agency the 21st century calls for, using technology and crowdsourcing to discover and verify content before anyone else.

Where? Storyful

The Conversation

What? Not-for-profit journalism project from Melbourne, Australia, «featuring content from the sharpest academic minds»

Why? A journalistic interface between academic discourse and the public, implicitly raising the question: Is science best covered by scientists?

Where? The Conversation

NEW The Skimm

What? A morning briefing, aimed at millennial women.

Why? $6m investment. In a newsletter.

Where? The Skimm


What? Curation site, dedicated to spreading «things that matter».

Why? They’ve proved that you can make serious matters go viral. Should be a lesson to everyone who, when writing headlines, still mistakes boring for serious. Also: How will hiring Amy O’Leary from the NYT change their editorial focus?

Where? Upworthy


What? Well, a Tumblr. A wildly successful one. Owned by Trinity Mirror.

Why? How to pull off innovation within a big media enterprise. Also: casual games with a newsy twist.

Where? Usvsth3m

Vice News

What? Vice Magazine’s global news network, launched in February 2014.

Why? Can Vice grow to be the «CNN for Generation Y» it wants to be? And what exactly does that mean?

Where? Vice News


What? New York City based investigative news site, backed by security tech magnate Mati Kochavi.

Why? Dedicated to «mining the unindexed, un-Google-able Web», they are heavily relying on technology to «identify clusters of disparate signals» on the web that will lead to stories.

Where? Vocativ

What? Ezra Klein’s new venture within Vox Media, focused on «explaining the news».

Why? Can a journalist-made Wikipedia with a more narrow focus on news topics work?


Vox Media

What? The publisher behind The Verge, SB Nation and Polygon.

Why? One of the very few media ventures where the CMS drives, not hinders creativity.

Where? Vox Media


What? Zurich-based news site, launched in January 2014.

Why? The first digital only, technology-driven news venture in Switzerland.

Where? Watson


What? Copenhagen based publisher of journalistic singles, texts that are longer than articles but shorter than books.

Why? Is extralongform the kind of journalism that can be sold in the digital age, by breaking into the non-fiction book market? «Zetland live» is a experiement to create a «live magazine» that only exists on stage.

Where? Zetland

Now, add yours.

Use the comments section, tweet me at @davidbauer or use whatever way you prefer to get in touch.


I have first published this list in October 2013 and continuously updated it. Here are the ventures that used to be on this list, but have been removed since (for very different reasons).

  • Buzzfeed, listicle powerhouse turning itself into a force in journalism. – If you’re not watching them already, I guess I can’t help you.
  • Matter, a publication for longform storytelling. – Acquired by Medium, now exemplary for their publications approach.
  •, an Austrian platform, «re-imagining» the article. – Ceased to be.
  • Byliner, an author-centered platform for discovering longform journalism. – Pivoted.
  • Evening Edition, an evening briefing on the most important stories of the day. – Ceased to be.
  • Krautreporter, a crowdfunded platform for independent journalism. – A disappointment so far. Put back on watchlist.
  • Forbes, a business news magazine that pioneered a contributer model for bloggers and advertisers. – Not much news lately, back to watchlist.
  • Numbeez, a personalised news app from Tel Aviv for «the numbers you care about». – Didn’t live up to its potential.


This list has received way more attention than I had anticipated and I’ve received tons of suggestions for ventures to be added. Here are those I’m currently considering, but haven’t made up my mind about.

Africa Check, Al Jazeera America, Animalpolitico,, Delayed Gratification, Der Sender, Forbes, Grasswire, Internews, Krautreporter, Latterly Magazine, Newscron OhmyNews, Ozy, Päng!, Politifact, Prozess.reportQuien Manda, Reportagen, Safecast, Texas Tribune, The Detail, The Marshall Project, Transterramedia, ushahidi, Vio, Webedia.

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  • Karsten Wenzlaff

    Hi David,

    here are two things that I find relevant:


    Tame positioned itself as Twitter-Search-Engine and has raised its money through Crowdfunding. But clearly the focus is global, because it brings structure to the global information universe called Twitter.

    However its big impact on the media landscape will be creating a data layer of relevance of sites. Tame has understood that no more the links between sites, but the usage of a certain link in social media gives the closes approximation to relevant on a real-time basis. wants to create a crowd university. While it might revolutionize how people think about online education, its longterm impact is beyond that.

    The future of interactive video content only is in the long-tail of all kinds of niches. Media outlets are just slowly realizing how relevant long-tail content is, and will show them that a community of contributors might create more relevance to long-tail content than a large media house.

  • David Bauer

    Thanks for the input. Both are interesting services, however, I don’t consider them ventures in journalism. Tame should go into a «tools for journalism» list.

  • Mads Kolby

    Here’s one from Denmark:

    Zetland ( publishes what they call “singles”: Longform stories that are longer than articles but shorter than book. Ones that can be read in an afternoon. The ambition is that the stories should make you learn something you didn’t know and give you something you’ll remember. Examples are story about the biggest armed robbery in Denmark, Rise and fall of Scandinavian Airlines, “generation debt”, Danes in the American civil war etc.

    They sell the singles via Riidr and iBooks. Price is 4-5 euros. Or you can buy a membership and get all singles for free for about 38 eur.

    They also arrange “Zetland Live” which is a live, on-stage performance of what’s hot in journalism, photography, litterature, radio and film. They are usually sold out pretty quick, I think.

  • David Bauer

    Thanks, Mads. That sounds interesting, will need to have a closer look.

  • Mads Kolby

    Will need to learn Danish in that case ;-)

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  • Elie_CH


    Cool list.

    I recently had a close look at
    Good insight about this venture is available here:
    Quite interesting

    How about adding services such as

    You mention Mediapart. Arrêt sur image is another french one with a paywall, and it’s doing well:

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  • Marcus Anhäuser

    Hi David,

    Do you know The Atavist, a small New York based Company, which publish multimedia longform, non-fiction storys and licence there framework to authors and publishers?

  • David Bauer

    I do. Will go into the first update of the list.

  • Jessica Plautz

    I’d like to suggest Skift (disclosure: That’s where I work), which is news, info and intelligence for the travel industry. We’re bringing focused attention to a vertical that is awash in data but lacking in innovation (in terms of coverage). In addition to the journalism, we’re launching several data products.

  • stefania

    David, thanks for this excellent and very useful overview. Drawing your attention to a new tiny projects with great ambitions in the #ddj and #dataviz field:, launched less than two weeks ago, with a few projects in the pipelines and many to come. views?

  • Jan Vangrinsven

    I’d like to add the Belgian Newssite (Dutch and French), a cooperative organisation focused on investigative journalism and the revaluation of the media as a fourth estate

  • David Bauer

    Added it with my first update of the list. Please check if I’m describing it correctly, had to rely on looking and Google Translate, since my Danish is limited to saying “tak”. So, tak for helping me out.

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  • Tracey Arial

    Do you know

  • Source Sleuth

    Hi David – Great list. Our service ( might also be a good fit for a tools for journalism list. Thanks for this!

  • Paul Stanley

    How about The Magazine?

  • David Bauer

    Good point. Will go into the waiting list.

  • Miro Lucassen

    What: Weekly Dutch magazine on the web, paid by subscribers, with eleven articles in each issue on politics, economics and media.
    Why: Strong personal and international views, well written by leading journalists and opinion makers.

  • Liam Corcoran

    Hi David,

    You might be interested in NewsWhip Spike, a content discovery platform that shows the world’s most shared stories in real time. It tracks around 250,000 stories in different categories and countries every day, making it a valuable resource for journalists and marketers looking to find the next big story in their niche, while it’s still small.

    The pro version is available at, offers a free trial for new users.


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  • Catherine Fitzpatrick

    Here’s why I would add The Interpreter, where I work:

    This is a leading liveblog and translation news site in the English language about Russia and Ukraine, with lots on the war.

    o the same kind of cutting-edge analysis of social media sources, geolocation with Google maps and so on as @bellingcat has, but combined with deep country and local language expertise which you really need to sift through social media sources in a region chock full of propaganda and disinformation; see for example our work on Grads fired from Russia and MH17:

    We overlap with the conclusions of @bellingcat on MH17, but go more in a direction of confirmation from state and independent media sources inside the region, not just trying to match photos on the Internet, which can be misleading.

    o funding comes mainly from Pavel Khodorkovsky’s Institute for Modern Russia — he is the son of Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky but also significant reader donations. None of the funders interfere whatsoever with editorial policy and news selection.

    If you don’t find that politically palatable, you’d have to ask why it’s ok to include Intercept, funded only by Omidyar, an American oligarch, and you’d have to be honest that Mother Jones isn’t “donations” but foundation grants — see the Soros sourcing, for example ( That’s fine; the point is we need media pluralism, not just funding of the “progressives” — and that’s how your list tends to skew.

    o Storyful has now been bought out by Murdoch There’s nothing wrong with that, but you should just be honest in portraying this venture as not mere Irish story-tellers.

    I don’t expect you to include region-specific publications in your list, i.e. there are probably specific German or French cutting edge sites about their own countries that you won’t be able to read.

    My point is to get you to rethink what you are saying about “cutting edge”. Some of it is really the same old pre-Internet story of lefty foundation money and some tycoons in the right place at the right time, i.e. Buzzfeed.

  • Pingback: An unfinished list of ventures in journalism you should be watching (and why) | Journalist+ ::useful checklist:: – Newsplexer()

  • dqandrade

    Two suggestions for the list:
    –, a new digital only news venture in Portugal, founded last may, full of explainers, longforms and video (I should know, I work there).
    –, a yet to be born Spanish digital newspaper from the long time editor of El Mundo, Pedro J. Ramirez, currently betting on crowfunding (and being successfull at it).

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