Guardian Media Group has recently set up a new site called Contributoria to encourage better collaboration between writers, and to ensure they get paid for their work.
Contributoria has been described as a cross between Kickstarter and Medium, and the aim of the site is to ensure that stories which wouldn’t normally be picked up by mainstream media get published and paid for. This is precisely the sort of thing the Guardian is well known for – disrupting the well-trodden way of doing things, and going against the grain. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The concept of the site is simple and ingenious. You can sign up to be a writer on Contributoria. You can also sign up to be a backer. Being a backer requires a paid membership (at the moment, membership is free though), and it is your membership dues which are used to pay the writer whose project you backed. As a backer, just browse the site’s proposals, and when you see one you like, you can back it using the points assigned to you, based on how much you are paying to the site.
If you are a writer, you can submit a proposal about the kind of story you would like to write about. People can leave comments about what they think of the proposal, and of course ask questions. As the story progresses, everyone can participate in the editing process, until the final article is produced on the site, where they will remain free to the public and available for re-use with a Creative Commons license (CC-BY-NC). The writer then gets paid from the membership fees.
The January 2014 issue is already out, with stories such as “The rise and rise of erotica for women“, and “Can fish and chips make you British?“. So nothing that will make Edward Snowden pale in comparison, but hey, early days.