Articles about "Forbes"

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Here are 37 great journalism internships and fellowships for application season

For journalism students, October through January is internship application season, a pressure cooker of equal parts excitement and anxiety.

It’s our profession’s draft day. By mid-march, most of your classmates will have declared their intention to work at a journalism organization, like a prized NFL recruit putting on their team’s hat in front of a live studio audience.

Don’t get left behind. Some of the applications for the most prestigious news organizations are due in a few weeks time, so work up the courage to request that letter of recommendation, update your résumé and figure out how stamps work.

To make the process a little easier, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best journalism internships I could find on the Web, many of which I applied for myself when I was in school. If you have questions about this list or know some great internships I’ve forgotten, tweet them to #POYinternlist or send me an email:

The New York Times James Reston Reporting Fellowship
Deadline: Oct. 31
Location: New York City
Pay: $1,000 per week
Description: “Beginning with the second week, the Reston Fellows start work in a section that reflects their skills and area of interest to report and write stories under the guidance of editors or senior reporters. Some stories are assigned, but fellows are encouraged to come up with their own ideas. They also participate in workshops with ranking editors and reporters. The goal of the program is to provide an opportunity for the fellows to stretch their journalistic skills with the help of some of the best reporters and editors in the country.”

The Washington Post
Deadline: Nov. 7
Location: Washington, D.C.
Pay: $750 per week
Description: “Our interns write articles, edit copy, take photographs, design pages and produce graphics. We treat them as staff members during their 12 weeks of employment.”

The Boston Globe
Deadline: Nov. 1
Location: Boston
Pay: $700 per week
Description: “Summer interns work as full-time employees for 12 weeks, between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Interns are paid a weekly wage, and shifts vary. An intern supervisor serves as a writing coach and there are weekly meetings with editors and staff members on a range of issues and topics pertaining to journalism.”

Associated Press Global News Internship
Deadline: Not settled yet; likely the first week of January, per AP spokesman Paul Colford.
Location: Major cities throughout the world
Pay: Not listed
Description: “The summer 2014 Global News Internship is a paid, highly selective, 12-week individually tailored training program for students who are aspiring cross-format journalists. Interns must have experience and/or training in video and one other format. They will contribute to AP’s text, video, photo and interactive reporting.”

Reuters Global Journalism Internships
Deadline: Dec. 1
Location: Major cities throughout the world
Pay: Not listed
Description: “The Reuters Global Journalism Internships offer talented students and graduates an opportunity to learn and shine in our bureaus internationally. The paid internships are a crash course in hands-on business, political and general news reporting. Every intern will report to a senior editor and be assigned a journalist mentor to provide advice and guidance during the summer. They’re expected to write regularly and deliver in-depth stories during their assignment. Interns will receive several days of formal training before they start work, focused on writing skills, journalism ethics and basic financial knowledge. They may also be able to take advantage of other, regularly scheduled training opportunities during the summer, depending on where they’re based.”

Texas Tribune News Apps Internships
Deadline: Nov. 15
Location: Austin, Texas
Pay: $5,000 over 10 weeks
Description: “Are you a journalism student or would-be reporter in another major? Know a little bit about HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and/or Python/Django, and would like to continue to hone your skills? Are you passionate about politics, policy and open government? You should join us. You’ll work directly with news apps developers, reporters and editors in the newsroom. Interns are first-class citizens on our team – in the past, they’ve had the opportunity to not only contribute to high-profile projects but to take the lead on them. You’ll get to create data visualizations and maps, participate in an active and friendly newsroom, play a role in editorial meetings and contribute to a number of different beats. We’re looking for someone passionate about web standards and the little details. Someone willing to show their work. Someone looking to learn. If you’re interested, send your resume and links to previous projects and/or your GitHub account to”

Texas Tribune reporting internship
Deadline: Nov. 15
Location: Austin, Texas
Pay: $2,000 over 10 weeks
Description: The Texas Tribune internship program provides aspiring journalists the opportunity to hone their reporting skills and learn a host of new ones that will prepare them for the 21st century newsroom. “This is not a teaching hospital,” in the words of our fearless leader, CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith. We expect interns who are anxious to dive into daily news coverage alongside our seasoned reporting staff. Interns at the Tribune write stories and blog posts, shoot photos and video, develop news apps and assist with our major data projects. Intern work has appeared in Texas editions of The New York Times through our partnership with the most prestigious newspaper in the country.

Reuters Journalism Program
Deadline: Dec. 15
Location: New York, London or Asia
Pay: Not listed
Description: “The Reuters Journalism Program offers nine months of hands-on, real-world experience with competitive pay in New York, London and Asia. You will gain a deep grounding in all aspects of financial reporting, work on fast-paced news stories and develop skills in enterprise journalism. The program seeks rising reporters, recent graduates or business professionals who can demonstrate a clear commitment to a career in journalism and an ability to generate story ideas relevant for a Reuters audience.”

The Los Angeles Times
Deadline: Jan. 1
Location: Los Angeles, Washington D.C.
Pay: $700 per week
Description: “Interested in working with some of the best journalists around? We offer 10 weeks of intensive, hands-on experience in a region where big stories are the norm. We place interns throughout the L.A. Times: Metro/Local, Sports, Business, Features (Home, Image, Travel, Food, Mind & Body), Arts & Entertainment, Editorial Pages, Washington, D.C., bureau, Photography/Video, Data Desk, Visualization & Graphics, Design and These are paid internships and summer placements usually run from mid-June to late August.”

The Tampa Bay Times
Deadline: Nov. 1
Location: St. Petersburg, Tampa, Clearwater, Port Richey and Brooksville
Pay: $450 per week
Description: “Florida’s largest and best newspaper, with 10 Pulitzer Prizes, is looking for energetic, talented young people for internships in all of its departments. Internships range from 12-week summer experiences to 6-month and 1-year jobs. You will be considered a full staff member and work alongside colleagues who will serve as mentors. Our internship programs are designed to give you hands-on experience to add to your academic credentials.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel
Deadline: Nov. 15
Location: Fort Lauderdale
Pay: $7.93 per hour
Description: “We offer seven paid internships throughout our digital-print newsroom. For 11 intensive weeks, from June to mid-August, you will report and write stories, shoot and edit video-photo, or design. We treat our interns as regular staffers, under the guidance of seasoned journalists. We offer internships in various newsroom departments: Metro-news, business, features, sports, video-photo, design, and our Spanish-language weekly, El Sentinel. We also offer weekly sessions with veteran journalists and senior editors on a wide range of topics, including career advice. It’s hard work and great fun.”

Google Journalism Fellowship
Deadline: Around the end of January
Location: Various journalism nonprofits throughout the United States
Pay: $8,000 for 10-weeks, plus $1,000 travel stipend
Description: “The program is aimed at undergraduate, graduate and journalism students interested in using technology to tell stories in new and dynamic ways. The Fellows will get the opportunity to spend the summer contributing to a variety of organizations — from those that are steeped in investigative journalism to those working for press freedom around the world and to those that are helping the industry figure out its future in the digital age.”
Disclaimer: I was a 2014 Google fellow.

Atlantic Media Fellowship Program
Deadline: End of February 2015
Location: Washington, D.C. and New York City
Pay: $25,000 per year, with full benefits
Description: “Atlantic Media offers high-achieving recent college graduates a unique opportunity to participate in the Atlantic Media Fellowship Program. The Program is a structured, year-long paid fellowship for top-tier talent committed to editorial-side or business-side careers in media. Each year we look forward to our new class of Fellows, who add a fresh perspective and new ideas to our company initiatives. As a digital-first company, we have experienced tremendous growth as a result of emphasis on digital initiatives, and our Fellows have been key contributors.”

The Seattle Times
Deadline: Nov. 15.
Location: Seattle
Pay: $540 per week
Description: “The Seattle Times offers paid summer internships to outstanding students pursuing a career in journalism. For 10 weeks, interns work on varied assignments and attend weekly training sessions with members of a Pulitzer Prize-winning staff. Interns receive a skill-development plan and work with a staff mentor to achieve it. Internships are open to sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students attending a four-year college or university. Applicants must have a demonstrated commitment to print and online journalism. At least one previous internship at a daily news organization is preferred, and multimedia experience is a plus.”

Austin American-Statesman
Deadline: Nov. 7
Location: Austin, Texas
Pay: $450 per week, plus free housing.
Description: “Our objective is to help interns grow with challenging assignments. In other words, you won’t spend your time writing police briefs, taking mug shots and running errands. Last summer, one intern finished with three dozen bylines, three-quarters of which were on the front page or the Metro cover.”

The Chicago Tribune
Deadline: Dec. 1
Location: Chicago
Pay: Not listed
Description: “The Chicago Tribune’s newsroom internship program seeks college juniors, seniors and graduate students for 12-week paid internships. Opportunities will be considered in all newsroom departments: metro, sports, business, graphics, copy editing, design, photo/video, entertainment, events, social media and lifestyle.”

The Dallas Morning News
Deadline: Oct. 31
Location: Dallas
Pay: $15 per hour
Description: “We offer several 12-week college internships for news reporting, copy editing, business news, features, sports, photography and our website, Interns are treated as full-time staffers and typically, at least one is hired for a full-time position at the conclusion of the internship.”

Student Press Law Center
Deadline: Jan. 31
Location: Washington, D.C.
Pay: $3,500 stipend
Description: “Journalism interns research, write and help edit the Report, the Center’s magazine that chronicles student press law cases and controversies from around the country. Interns also write breaking news and analysis pieces for the Center’s website. Those with an interest in video and multimedia are especially encouraged to apply, and help us create the images that will bring students’ censorship experiences to life.”

The Oregonian
Deadline: Nov. 1
Location: Portland, Oregon
Pay: $440 per week
Description: “Oregonian Media Group offers a 10-week summer intern program for college students who wish to work as multimedia journalists in The Oregonian newsroom. We’re looking for primarily upperclassmen with previous internship experience who want to work in a digital-first environment doing smart stories for readers of OREGONLIVE.COM online and The Oregonian in print. We want critical thinkers, students who have a portfolio that shows ambition and skill across platforms, reporters and photographers who want to make a difference with readers – however those readers find us.
If selected, you will be assigned to a team for the summer, paired with a staff mentor and provided opportunities to learn from experienced journalists through group discussions with other interns.”

NPR’s Kroc Fellowship:
Deadline: Dec. 31
Location: NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., and member station.
Pay:: $40,000 per year
Description: “The Fellowship is designed to offer exposure to various units at NPR, in both the News and Digital Divisions, and at an NPR Member Station. NPR Kroc Fellows work alongside some of the nation’s most respected reporters, producers and editors and receive regular instruction in writing for radio and on-air performance. The Fellowship begins in August and lasts one year. Fellows receive a stipend of more than $40,000 and benefits, including paid vacation. NPR will provide Kroc Fellows with professional guidance and assist in job placement.”

Pulliam Journalism Fellowship
Deadline: Nov. 1
Location: Indianapolis and Phoenix
Pay: $650 per week
Description: “You’ll be a member of our newsroom, work hard and gain valuable journalism experience. You get paid, too. Our Pulliam Fellows earn $650/week for the 10-week program. You’ll also get to participate in writing workshops and learn over lunch from some of the best minds in journalism.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune
Deadline: Nov. 1
Location: Minneapolis
Pay:: $706 per week
Description: “The Star Tribune newsroom offers one of the best summer internship programs available in our industry. We select at least 10 candidates for paid 10-week internships each summer. The program targets college and graduate students interested in pursuing careers as reporters, copy editors/multiplatform editors, designers, photographers and multimedia producers.”

Chronicle of Higher Education
Deadline: Jan. Read more

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Forbes sold to Hong Kong-based group

The majority ownership of Forbes Media has been sold to a group of investors based in Hong Kong. The Forbes family “will retain a significant ownership stake,” a release Friday says. Integrated Whale Media Investments “will provide capital, as well as financial and operational expertise, and intends to leverage its international relationships to strategically enlarge Forbes Media’s reach on a global scale.”

The company didn’t release terms. Edmund Lee, Alex Sherman and Leslie Picker reported for Bloomberg News last November that Forbes was exploring a sale. They wrote: “While Forbes is seeking at least $400 million in a sale, according to a person familiar with the matter, the company will struggle to land more than $200 million, another person said.”
Full release: Read more


Media figures on Forbes’ list of powerful women


German Chancellor Angela Merkel takes the top spot in this year’s “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” list from Forbes. The list includes women from Brazil, South Korea and the U.S., women who work in technology, politics and medicine, and women in the media.

Here’s a look at that last set, with a few people whose businesses have media components as well.

No. 9: Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook

Sandberg responds to questions during an interview with Megyn Kelly in April 2014. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

No. 12: Susan Wojcicki, CEO, YouTube, Google

No. 14: Oprah Winfrey

Winfrey in February 2014. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, file)
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During the first weekend of May, more than half of visits to Forbes came through mobile, Lewis DVorkin wrote Monday for Forbes. What does that mean? If done right, it’s a place where journalism could actually make some money.

In some ways, Facebook and Twitter paved the way. Together, they buried the adage that ad agencies recited like lemmings: readers don’t scroll. Facebook now makes tons of money from smartphone scrolling. The trick for news outlets is how to construct a mobile flow with content modules. They must appeal to visitors, but also support video, sponsorships, interstitials, galleries and more. It’s not easy. It takes the right publishing tools, collaboration with the sales and marketing teams (perish the thought), and integration with an ad server. Maybe most challenging: getting editors to think like marketers of content, not simply creators.

Lewis DVorkin, Forbes


Bloomberg: Forbes Media exploring sale


Forbes Media has drawn interest from potential buyers and is up for sale, Bloomberg reports.

The $400 million reportedly sought for Forbes magazine and would exceed the $250 million purchase price of the Washington Post and the $70 million price of the Boston Globe combined.

Lewis Dvorkin, Forbes’ chief product officer, has called a “social media operating system” that goes beyond a simple news website. Forbes magazine was founded in 1917.

Naturally, Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget has already weighed in:

Read more


Why news orgs should make it easier for readers to distinguish staffers from contributors

When Maury Brown read a story on Forbes this week with the declarative headline “2013 Houston Astros: Baseball’s Worst Team Is The Most Profitable In History,” he knew he had to write a reply.

Yesterday Brown, founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, did just that. His piece carried an equally strong headline, “Erroneous Story Claiming Houston Astros Most-Profitable Ever A Massive Strikeout.”

Brown’s story took the Forbes piece by Dan Alexander to task, and it was published on … Forbes.

“There are few times that an article refuting a Forbes colleague is in need of publishing, but this is one of those instances,” Brown wrote. He went on to list “reasons why the story is not only off-base, it has to be classified as grossly inaccurate.” Alexander and Brown are both Forbes contributors.

It’s by no means unprecedented for a media outlet to give a person the right to reply to something previously published. What is notable is how this incident compares to other recent examples of contributors publishing stories that raise eyebrows. It also renews attention to news organizations that mix the content of staffers with that of outside contributors who produce (often unedited) stories for their sites.

Brown told me via email that Forbes’ willingness to publish his rebuttal “speaks to the outlet’s healthy view of promoting divergent views.” That joins the obvious and significant benefit of dramatically increasing the amount of content on a site as one of the goals of the sites that open up their platform for others to use.

In this case, the two “contributors,” as they are labeled on the Forbes site, were in touch with each other and also with at least one editor at Forbes.

After Brown’s piece went up, Alexander published a follow-up post Thursday afternoon. Brown was by no means the only person to question the claims, and the Astros also issued a statement to say the piece was inaccurate. (The team did not respond to Alexander’s questions prior to the publication of his piece.)

As for the criticism that his first post elicited, Alexander writes that the discrepancy between his take and that of his critics “Depends on how you count.”

If that’s the case, then at the very least the original headline (“2013 Houston Astros: Baseball’s Worst Team Is The Most Profitable In History”) is a step too far.

I don’t claim any knowledge of MLB team finances or the accounting thereof. But I will say I found Brown’s rebuttal convincing.

Aside from the (important) issue of who’s right, there’s the aforementioned issue that more and more publishers/platforms are encountering: How do you properly label content and authors so that readers understand which content comes from staffers, or went through a more detailed vetting process, and which comes from unvetted contributors?

Contributor or staffer?

The Huffington Post is considered a pioneer in having the work of staffers mingle with that of unpaid bloggers.

Today there are more and more sites following a similar path: BuzzFeed allows anyone to publish to its Community section without vetting or payment, although as my colleague Andrew Beaujon recently reported, the “site devotes editorial help to the community section’s best users so their posts do better”; Medium requires people to be invited to contribute, but only edits and pays a subset of those published on the site; and Forbes mixes staffers and outside “contributors,” with the latter having the opportunity to earn revenue.

Forbes Media Chief Product Officer Lewis DVorkin has said there are “hundreds” of contributors writing for the site:

They are not employees, but many participate in our online community newsroom, exchanging ideas with staff editors and reporters. They are certainly more than freelancers, incentivized for individual performance (the formula: 1x for a one-time monthly user, 20x for a repeat user) rather than paid a flat fee or by the word.

Brown and Alexander are identified on their Forbes profiles as contributors. For example:

As opposed to a Forbes staffer:

Being clear about who is who is good for readers. Forbes also puts a disclaimer at the bottom of the author bio box to the right of all articles: “The author is a Forbes contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.” Both strike me as best practices for news sites that welcome outside contributors and give their work little or no vetting.

It’s not about flagging community content as being inferior; rather, the goal is to provide readers the information they need to consume the content with the appropriate context and information.

It’s basic transparency, and it adds value in the same way offering readers access to a bio and related author information is useful. (Certainly, there are also liability issues at play.) 

Simply put, on sites that mix staff and community contributor content, the reader should:

  1. Be able to clearly see whether the author is a staffer or an outside contributor.
  2. Receive a clear disclaimer if the content in question is not vetted the same way as staff content.
  3. Have a link to follow to learn more about the above two points.

Along those lines, BuzzFeed labels a “Community Contributor” in the byline and includes text at the bottom of their posts: “This post was written by a member of the BuzzFeed Community, where anyone can post awesome lists and creations, and share them.” (Community contributors can also earn “Cat Power” ratings for their posts; I wouldn’t necessarily call that a best practice.)

Medium, on the other hand, does not currently identify which of its content was commissioned and edited by its team, and which posts were submitted as is, for free, by those with accounts. (Disclosure: Months ago I demoed Spundge, the product made by the company where I work, for Medium senior editor Evan Hansen.)

As Hamish McKenzie wrote on PandoDaily, “the editor-free content on Medium looks just the same as the content that the company has commissioned, curated, and polished.” As of now, there are no distinctions.

McKenzie also pointed to a recent example from BuzzFeed whereby a factually questionable piece attacking Planned Parenthood was posted to the Community section, causing outcry and eventually leading BuzzFeed to add an additional “Community Note” to the top of the listicle:

Community Note
Community posts are made by members of the community, and are not vetted or endorsed by BuzzFeed.

A BuzzFeed spokesperson told McKenzie, “We’ve been adjusting the labelling, and were in the process of figuring out where and whether we should draw lines about what’s appropriate on what we conceived as an open platform, like Facebook and Twitter.”

As for the labelling issue, MacKenzie notes that “the Personhood USA post on BuzzFeed is barely discernible from its best political reporting, or the scintillating listicles that detail 27 signs you know you were raised by hamsters.”

Indeed, the typical BuzzFeed Community disclaimer at the bottom of a Community post reads more like a call to action to contribute, rather than a disclosure about the origin of the content and BuzzFeed’s responsibility for it (“… anyone can post awesome lists and creations, and share them”).

Forbes does well with its labelling of contributors and staffers in a bio box at the top of all articles. I’d prefer to see its disclaimer text also appear at the top of contributor content, but at least the text is relatively clear that a contributor is not a staffer.

Except, of course, when they might be.

Dueling bios

Unlike his bio on the Forbes site, Alexander’s Twitter bio identifies him as a Forbes intern. When I reached out to him for comment about his Astros post, I used his Forbes email address, which I saw he’d given out on Twitter. When Alexander replied, he said I would need to pass my question through a Forbes spokesperson.

Yet Brown, the other contributor, replied from his own company email address and spoke on his own. So not all Forbes contributors are created equal.

I asked Forbes for clarification on how I should identify Alexander in my post, and was told, “Dan Alexander, Forbes Contributor.” 

I asked for further clarification, citing his Forbes email address and Twitter bio, and didn’t receive a reply. 

Disclaimers and labels are necessary and useful, especially when so many sites are mixing different levels of contributors, and assuming different levels of responsibility for the content they publish. (A state of affairs McKenzie argues can’t/shouldn’t last.)

But to be really useful, labels and disclosures need to be complete and accurate.

As of now — after reading a bio on two sites (including Forbes’ own), and emailing him and a spokesperson — I don’t have a clear idea of the relationship Alexander has with Forbes.

Thanks to Forbes’ transparency in other areas, however, I do know Alexander’s first Astros post has over 160,000 views — more than six times the amount of Brown’s rebuttal.

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Writer who called Irish president an ‘acknowledged homosexual’ resigns from Forbes

Irish Independent

David Monagan writes that he’s resigned from Forbes after calling Irish President Michael D. Higgins an “acknowledged homosexual.” Higgins is not gay.

The mistake was a whopper, and the fault was mine,” writes Monogan, who blogged about Ireland for the site. He intended that sobriquet for David Norris, Higgins’ onetime political rival.

Monagan then turns his fire on Forbes, not for making the mistake but for creating the conditions under which such an error could grow and spread.

“The fact is that Forbes, as a corporate communication enterprise, is now consumed by a mathematical game of just generating ‘hits,’ he writes. His base pay of $200 month worked out to less than $3 an hour for the 40 hours he spent on writing his agreed-upon four posts, Monagan says. Read more


Morning corrections: Irish president not gay, Kentucky exists

Michael D. Higgins is not an “acknowledged homosexual”: Forbes published those words about the president of Ireland Wednesday, and they “would have come as something of a shock for Mr Higgins, who has been happily married to his actress wife Sabina since 1974,” Andrew McCorkell writes in the Independent.

Forbes will be issuing an apology to President Higgins in a separate correspondence,” an editor’s note reads. “I have written millions of words about Ireland and this is the worst mistake I have ever made,” David Monagan, who made the original error, tells McCorkell.

Kentucky also lies to the west of Virginia: “A map with an article on Tuesday about the discovery of a 16th-century fort last month near Morganton, N.C., labeled incorrectly a state that borders Virginia to the west,” a correction in The New York Times Thursday reads. “It is Kentucky, not West Virginia.” Read more


What the Forbes model of contributed content means for journalism

Two years ago, was a news website like most others.

Today, it is less website, more operating system — an underlying layer of technology that hundreds of contributors use to publish independently.

Lewis DVorkin, who kickstarted the model at True/Slant and since 2010 has honed it for as chief product officer, calls it “incentive-based, entrepreneurial journalism.”

Much of the content on comes from its hundreds of contributors, who write as independent contractors.

“Entrepreneurial”? Each contributor flies solo with his own blog. He is responsible for conceiving and creating the content, ensuring its accuracy and building an engaged, loyal readership. Forbes provides the technology and compensates some of the contributors, but otherwise, like all entrepreneurs, contributors are left to sink or swim on their own.

Forbes is swimming. The audience doubled in the past year to 30 million monthly unique users, thanks in part to almost 100,000 posts created by nearly 1,000 authors.

Forbes may be on to something here. This new publishing model is grounded in some of the fundamental principles of the Web:

  • It embraces the most natural form of blogging — “the unedited voice of a person.”
  • It embodies David Weinberger’s famous model of the Web as a whole — small pieces, loosely joined — by coordinating many independent voices under the brand power, technology and financial resources of Forbes.
  • It taps the scaling power of technology platforms. A similar anyone-can-play approach helped the Huffington Post grow to among the most-trafficked news websites (though Forbes differs by paying some of their writers and being more selective of its contributors).

Forbes’ may not be the exact model for every site to follow. There are weaknesses (more on that later) along with its strengths. And in some ways it seems uniquely fitted to the Forbes ethos — entrepreneurial journalism for an entrepreneur-focused publication. But it is worth understanding.

Lewis DVorkin is the architect of Forbes’ content contributor model.

“The economics in journalism are broken, and there are lots of experimentations taking place,” DVorkin told me. “People do different things; this is our model. It’s obviously gaining traction with audience, it’s gaining traction with contributors. It’s working for us.”

Who writes and why?

Who are these people filling with content?

The short answer is, just about anyone who has something relevant to say and a reason to say it there. contributors include professional journalists, some of whom turned to Forbes after they left or lost their full-time jobs in recent years. But there are many others from non-journalistic backgrounds: Business leaders, entrepreneurs, book authors, academics and other topic experts.

“And they’re all vetted by our editors and our staff,” DVorkin said. “We look at their experience, we look at their credentials and what they’ve done. And we turn many people away.”

Selected writers get at least one of a few rewards:

  • Money. Some contributors are paid monthly based on the size of the audience they attract (more on that later). Often these are professional journalists who write for a living. But not everyone who writes needs money.
  • Stability. Freelance writers may tire of having to constantly shop their latest work around to different editors. By working as a Forbes contributor, they know where their next paycheck is coming from. (They can still publish elsewhere, just not the same content they give to Forbes.)
  • Status. Some people may write for Forbes to build their own reputations. Simply by associating themselves with the Forbes brand, they benefit.
  • Attention. Many contributors don’t need a paycheck, because they use the audience and attention built through Forbes to make money in other ways, such as book sales, speaking appearances, or career advancement.

Some of the contributors are doing quite well. Fifty-five writers have more than doubled their audience since last June, DVorkin recently wrote, and “a handful” periodically draw more than 1 million readers a month.

What are the benefits to Forbes?

  • Content, at low or no cost, is the big one.
  • Flexibility, too. Each contributor is on a contract that can be terminated with 30 days’ notice, DVorkin said.
  • Scalability. The Forbes model can scale from 100 contributors, to 1,000, to 5,000 without breaking down.

What, exactly, do you reward?

When you practice incentive-based entrepreneurial journalism, you have to decide what to incent.

Stock market news and analysis site Seeking Alpha, which gets its content from contributors as well, pays them each a very straightforward $10 per thousand pageviews. You could also pay contributors based on the volume of productivity (per article, per word, etc.) or based on a subjective notion of quality.

Forbes has chosen to pay contributors based on unique visitors — specifically, loyal unique visitors. An author is paid a certain amount (which varies and DVorkin would not disclose, citing privacy of individuals’ contracts) for each first-time unique visitor, but 10 times more for each return visit from that person during the same month.

Why is that good? It’s an all-in-one incentive to write well, to write often, to distribute and promote content and to build community. You don’t get a large number of unique people to come, and then come back again, without doing all of that well.

It also lets each contributor choose the most appropriate way to build her audience. One contributor might write a few deeply researched pieces; another might hammer out a ton of quick, timely pieces. Both can succeed.

How do you organize it all?

There are no centralized editors assigning the stories. There’s not even an editor aware at any given time what all the contributors are working on. How do you keep that from becoming a tangled mess?

Forbes hires each contributor to write about a specific subject, and requires them to stay in their lanes, DVorkin said. And Forbes won’t take on a new contributor if her proposed subject area isn’t desirable (read: relevant and/or profitable), or if the contributor pool on that topic is already saturated.

Another strategy that keeps the site focused is applying “the Forbes prism” across every topic.

“The beautiful thing about Forbes is, you can put almost anything through a Forbes prism,” DVorkin said. “The Forbes prism is about free enterprise, entrepreneurship and smart investing. Most business stories, and dare I say many cultural events, you can put through that Forbes prism. Because it’s always, at the end, about money.”

The downsides

What the Forbes model gains in quantity, speed and flexibility, it loses in editing.

There is no traditional editing of contributors’ copy, at least not prior to publishing. If a story gets hot or makes the homepage, a producer will “check it more carefully,” DVorkin said.

Traditional-minded journalists probably think that sounds reckless. From the beginning, there were concerns that Forbes’ model might “lessen the quality of the content.” Just last week, a Forbes contributor stumbled by writing a controversial post, deleting it to post an apology, only to have a Forbes producer later restore his original text with the apology.

Sometimes contributors make mistakes acting on their own, like this column by contributor Eric Jackson that resulted in an apology and confusion over whether to delete the original post.

But DVorkin argues that overall Forbes’ model is better than the traditional newsroom one, where a reporter has editors and fact-checkers absorbing the responsibility for accuracy.

“It’s about accountability. It’s your brand, it’s your page, and you need to get it right. If you don’t, you won’t be able to build an audience,” DVorkin said. “I worked at Newsweek for five years. Reporters would write stories with a whole bunch of ‘tk’s so a fact checker could go do it. What kind of accountability is that? $100,000-a-year people depending on someone making $25,000 to get their story right.”

And while there’s no traditional fact-checking, there is a lot of after-the-fact checking. “The audience spots issues a lot,” DVorkin said. “The audience is as much your editor now as an editor is your editor.”

Conflicts of interest are another potential weakness in the model. Especially among unpaid contributors who are writing to promote themselves, their books or their businesses, you have to wonder how their “other motives” subtly frame their writing. (When they join, contributors are required to disclose to Forbes, in writing, any conflicts of interest.)

And for the working journalists out there, the success and potential spread of this model is both good and bad news. Good because a sustainable, scalable business model for journalism is needed. Bad because this is a tougher way to make a living.

It’s a nice income stream, and it may grow if you stick with it. But few of the paid contributors can make a living there alone, and of course as independent contractors they have no health or retirement benefits.

If this is the future, journalists may need to prepare for living every day like a hustle — leaning on their personal brands and piecing together a multi-stream income. But then again, we were never in it for the money.

Related: DVorkin talks with Forbes contributor Anthony Kosner about his experience
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7 Comments contributor deletes post about Sheryl Sandberg after people call it sexist

On Wednesday, contributor Eric Jackson wrote a controversial post comparing the media attention that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg gets to that of former Marimba CEO Kim Polese 15 years ago. By Thursday morning, Jackson had deleted the post and written an apology.

The incident raises important questions about transparency and’s publishing process, in which freelance contributors can publish and delete posts without input from editors.

In his story, Jackson wrote that Polese “didn’t deserve” to be on Time’s list of the 25 most influential people back then and that she was clearly “in the right place at the right time.” It helped, he added, that she was “young, pretty, and a good speaker.” He noted the similarities between Polese and Sandberg — “they both like(d) magazine covers and editorial spreads” — and shared this advice for Sandberg: “Maybe you should tone down the public appearances for a while and just keep your head down at Facebook.”

Readers accused Jackson of sexism, saying his post was “dreadful,” “ridiculous” and ignored all that Sandberg has achieved. Rachel Sklar tweeted: “Here’s your post, summed up: ‘Don’t get too big for your britches, honey.’ Here’s mine: Watch us.” Read more