Curating long form content at the local level with Medium

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The Breaking News Network curates the best news media and blog content across 400+ cities, and delivers it to our readers in real time through social media and blogs. Our mission is to syndicate the most comprehensive news about a city as it breaks from traditional local media, social media, and over 5,000 community newsmakers who access our feeds via Twitter. We’re now on Medium with localized long form content across 400 cities.

Local Long Form Content

Most of our readers are accustomed to seeing “short form” breaking news from Twitter, generally with a link directed to the original content source. We’re now curating long form content across the 400 cities we cover globally using Medium, this long form content platform developed by Twitter cofounder Ev Williams. The account structure on Medium is similar to Twitter; every Medium writer logs in with their Twitter account to create a Medium account. Writers can also curate “Collections” by assembling a set of Medium articles in the same way Twitter users create Twitter lists. Collections based on topics are reminiscent of magazines, and we created Collections for 400 cities, like Los Angeles News, with the intention to create 400 Medium writer – powered online city magazines:

Los Angeles News collection

When writers publish an article on Medium, they can submit it to other curators’ Collections to gain more publicity. When writers publish content relevant to a city, like Los Angeles, they find collections by querying “Los Angeles”, and finding Collections for submission.

We welcome all submissions related to our 400 cities, and will publish good content that is not self promotional. Find your city in our city directory.

The Future of Medium

Online magazine publishing has always faced hurdles in monetization, it’s almost universally accepted that new online publications can’t command the old print based subscription model. One example is Matter, an online magazine that started with a subscription model after a lauded 2012 crowdfunding campaign. Although it started as a subscription site, revenues apparently couldn’t sustain the costs of journalism, and it eventually embedded itself on Medium as a free collection. If one considers that all long form content will eventually default to free in order to be widely read and distributed, then writers will look to a publish platform for the most bang, given there is no buck. Medium can be that platform. Most writers see Medium as a blog tool, but the ability to curate content into collections and build a “following” make it potentially more viral than the stand alone blog, particularly with Twitter baked into its system.

What Twitter did was to create a utility for news publishing, a platform for short form broadcasting. The mass adoption of Twitter by journalists made it the most relevant social media platform for news. In general, journalists use Twitter to syndicate or curate content by directing readers to original sources, like their own publications and blogs. Medium extends this utility by being the original source of long form content, so writers can essentially point their tweets to their Medium accounts. Together, Twitter and Medium become a platform for writing and distribution, a mega-utility for writers. Five years ago, we built The Breaking News Network based on Twitter as a local news utility that would be more cost effective (free) than hiring journalists. Today, we are building The Breaking News Network on Medium to catalog the long form content that will inevitably become 400 comprehensive city magazines. In both cases, we are staking our claim to local content curation at the nascent stages of platform adoption.

Twitter and Medium will eventually be a tandem for writers to create content and distribute it

In fact, I would expect to see Twitter and Medium integrated once writers realize how essential both will be in getting their word out. Ev Williams is brilliant; not many social technologists or journalists are making this connection, and I think it will suddenly become evident once writers realize that Medium and Twitter will be their hub for distributing their content to the publications they once wrote for.

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