Beacon is a Mysterious Startup That Has a Problem With the State of Journalism

Most startups are very clear with their purpose. In fact, most who take their mission seriously hire writers like me with the specific intent of clarifying that mission in as few words as possible.

Beacon is taking a different path.

Beacon’s homepage reveals only that the founder (Dan Fletcher, formerly of Facebook, Time, and Bloomberg News) has a problem with the current state of journalism, specifically on the web:

When publishers bet their future on page views, we end up with slide shows and sideboob. We end up with intern armies bunkered in cubicles who're told that cat videos today are as good as cover stories tomorrow.

This is followed by a plea to “help us support the people who create great journalism.” How they intend to do that is left to the imagination.

If you punch in your email address and sign up, though, you’ll get an occasional post from Beacon in your inbox, further explaining the lamentable state of writing on the web. Two pieces have been published to date. The first, You Can’t Get There From Here, uses Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference to outline the underlying problem in journalism: that everyone is stuck in the past, and no one is offering suggestions for how to push journalism forward.

We hold our breath in anticipation for the answer and then we get absolutely nothing. The ‘biggest’ question — what is going to happen next? — is the one they neglect.

The second piece, The Economics of a Broken Model, uses a piece by Noah Davis as an example of just how twisted is the system which makes it easy to make money from cat videos while pushing quality longform content to the bottom of the pile.

So, what is Beacon? I really don’t know... but it’s certainly intriguing enough to keep an eye on.

Beacon | @beaconreader


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