Ebyline raises $1.5M for journalism platform

Faith Merino · November 9, 2010 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/1385

The online journalism marketplace allows writers and publishers to negotiate stories a la cart

Updated 9:12 a.m. to include information on eByline's growth since launch.

When we last covered eByline in September, the online marketplace for journalists and publishers had just launched with its new cost-effective business model for publishing: a platform where publishers and seasoned journalists can negotiate stories on an à la cart basis and process payments quickly.  Since launching, the site has drawn over 400 freelancers and 30 publishers.  The company announced Tuesday that it has raised $1.5 million in a Series A round led by The E.W. Scripps Company.  This funding will be a welcome addition to the undisclosed amount of seed funding that the company previously raised.

What makes eByline unique is that it isn’t just an open season for publishers and writers to crank out content like so many other content companies, like AOL’s Seed.com, which lists a variety of topics for anyone to write up.  Rather, eByline screens journalists who want to join the site to ensure that they have real journalistic experience.  When I last spoke with eByline’s CEO and co-founder, Bill Momary, he revealed that for now, eByline is primarily looking to serve publishers, not freelancers, so the site’s growth will likely come from publishers who join the site with a team of their own established and trusted writers. 

Ebyline handles all of the payment details for writers and editors, so publishers will be drawn to the cost-cutting benefits of an automated payment process that immediately transfers payment to the writer when the editor clicks to accept a story.  This will not only cut administrative tasks to make life easier for everyone, it also promises to free up thousands of dollars, which can then be redirected toward the newsroom and actual news gathering.

 “We saw that the economic model around traditional content publishing was not working, but the need for content was still there,” said Bill Momary in a previous interview with Vator News.  

It is no secret that the news industry is struggling to maintain subscribers as more and more people are getting their news for free online. 

“Today’s news business needs solutions like Ebyline that offer both publishers and individuals new opportunities to manage and monetize quality content,” said Mark Contreras, senior VP of newspapers for Scripps, in a prepared statement.

The E.W. Scripps Company is a media company that publishes daily and community newspapers in 14 markets and runs a television group that includes six ABC-affiliated stations, three NBC affiliates, and one independent.  Scripps also runs United Media, a worldwide syndication company that distributes comics like Dilbert and Marmaduke, as well as well-known columns and commentary from Miss Manners, Cokie Roberts, and Nat Hentoff.

The new funds will be used to strengthen eByline’s position in the journalism space.  Since launching in September, the company has partnered with several major publications, including business entertainment news source Variety, which, for the first time, is selling its film reviews and more to other publications through eByline.  Additionally, eByline has partnered with the Pulitzer prize-winning ProPublica, Cars.com, and independent news sources, like Minnpost.com and The Texas Observer.  Some of its members include credentialed journalists from The Journalism Shop and The Sports Media Exchange.

Image source: sporttruck.com

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