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Conor Friedersdorf’s Best Journalism List

Alexander Alexeenko - 21.03.20

Conor Renier Friedersdorf, known as Conor Friedersdorf, is a famous American journalist and a staff writer at The Atlantic.

A few years ago, Conor Friedersdorf worked on the Culture 11 startup web-blog, and he and several of his friends met regularly at Kramerbooks near the Dupont Circle in Washington club magazine. Someone will choose a new feature for the group to read and discuss later.

On the agenda of the club’s meetings were absolutely usual topics of this kind: schedules, work, and the urgency of other matters disbanded the case. The club, was joyful to discover new talented writers and the group motivation to keep reading, may have been described the genesis for Friedersdorf’s Best of Journalism List.


1. Conor Friedersdorf’s Best Journalism List

A collection of links 12 years ago gave rise to this list. Thus, since 2008 Friedersdorf himself and his sheet went with him to various publications and journalistic houses: his list appeared in Culture 11, The American Scene, True/Slant, and finally, The Atlantic. About 10 years ago, Friedersdorf launched what you might call a by-product of the list, the “Best Journalism” newsletter — a weekly dose of letters from around the Internet, supported by and affordable at the app. $ 1.99 per month. Although he did not go into the details of subscribers, Friedersdorf said that the number of readers of the newsletter is hundreds, so he earns at least $ 201 a month, and possibly on three-digit project numbers. Given that this list is not full-time, this is a small amount on the side.

And the audience is growing, says Friedersdorf. This is not surprising if you look at similar projects, such as Longreads, SportsFeat or Longform: there is an explosion in curatorial reading, and with it the detection and preservation of long forms. But what sets the “Best of Journalism” apart is that it uses these curatorial tools and ideas to create a community-oriented reading experience. Not to mention the potential business model.

“I think one of the reasons for this kind of long-form rebirth is that it is a good length,” Friedersdorf said. “I think many people crave something more than a tweet, newspaper article, or Gawker post, but they don’t have time to read.”

2. Conor Friedersdorf: Longread or Longform

It goes without saying that all of us are at an excellent age for reading stories, but the discovery and dissemination of these stories (as well as the ability to extract financial profit from them) remains a problem. But with each new method that we create in order to reflect the stories that we want, whether it's RSS, Twitter, Instapaper or Read it Later, we also create more channels (albeit improved ones) for delivering information. If you're familiar with it, an Instapaper lineup will be long, not to mention all of these curated lists on Longreads. And Google Reader looks like a home party with excess capacity.

Friedersdorf began his list of "Best" as an exercise in sharing good reading — not because he considered himself an arbiter with great taste or a person with exceptional reading skills, but because the articles he highlighted were interesting stories. The project traditionally hosts a Vanity Fair with commentary on notes, only it got bigger, and Friedersdorf began to approach the list like a business market editor or health bulletin would do. By launching the list as a newsletter, Friedersdorf began experimenting with thematic reading, with some weekly newsletters being related to news events (e.g. tsunami and Japanese culture stories), while others collected disparate stories under a topic that could have gone differently.

“My niche is mailing out materials that are really good for journalism and really good for reading,” Friedersdorf said. "This is a list for readers."

But although the list is based on the idea of ​​getting around a magazine article, it also has some common DNA with link reviews. Conor Friedersdorf, a longtime student at Andrew Sullivan’s blog school (he worked for him), said that the appeal of bulletin comes down not only to their concise quality, “this is what you need to read,” but also to individuality.

According to Friedersdorf, if you are a follower of Sullivan or, let's say, Ta-Nehisi Coates, these links imply that you will like what they lead to — because you are led there not only by reference, but by a person. Figuratively speaking, the list of curatorial links is an additional incentive, an additional hint that something needs to be read. Clicking on a link is not the same as reading the story to which it leads. A stamp of personal approval can help this — but it can give a little push from the group, or a little old-fashioned peer pressure. If we look back at the idea of a magazine club, then this incentive may come from the fact that everyone around you will also read history.

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