By: Nu Yang
The team at Beacon wants writers to get paid. Launched in September, Beacon invites readers to fund a writer in their current pool of 28 international journalists for $5 a month. In return, the reader gets access to every story on Beacon. The majority of the subscription fee goes directly to the writer and the rest allows Beacon to provide the infrastructure and network to distribute stories.
Created by Dan Fletcher, Adrian Sanders and Dmitri Cherniak, their goal is to gather the best reporters they can and provide a single subscription service for news.
As a former reporter for Time, Fletcher is Beacon’s journalism guy on the team. His resume also includes managing editor at Facebook and social media director at Bloomberg. For Beacon, he reached out to his colleagues at Time and asked, “Who do you wish you could give more work to? Whose byline do you wish to see more of?”
He also found writers who had a strong social media following, writers with readers who would support them so they could tell more stories.
Their current roster of worldwide journalists has been published in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian and the Wall Street Journal. They write about issues ranging from endangered animals and ecosystems to stories about Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula.
Fletcher explained that writers have their own profile page, which includes a short video and personal pitch. The page also shares what they plan to cover and how often they plan to post on Beacon.
What the writers plan to post and cover is up to them. “The writers know their audience better than I do,” Fletcher said, regarding Beacon’s content. “It’s still early enough that we can learn what works and what audiences are responding to.”
Fletcher said there has also been discussion to expand editorial coverage to other topics like sports. Writers who are interested in working with Beacon can apply online. Fletcher said he is looking for writers who are “willing to experiment and ready to work in this new model.”
Fletcher said he doesn’t expect the $5 subscription fee to change. “As we add more writers, (Beacon) will only get more valuable.”
According to Fletcher, Beacon is designed ad-free in order to build a great reading experience and because ads are not a core part of their platform. The design is also responsive to any device.
“Our goal is make sure our writers are happy,” he said. “We don’t get paid if they don’t get paid.”
For more information, visit beaconreader.com.