The Content Model: Distributed Authorship & the Voice of Forbes

by Lewis DVorkin and Forbes, Inc.

This chapter is a free excerpt from The Forbes Model For Journalism In The Digital Age.

The evolving and scalable Forbes content engine is based on the concept of distributed authorship. In both print and digital, the system helped streamline the editing process and bring the content creator into more direct contact with the business news consumer – and sometimes our marketing partners, too.

Most Forbes magazine stories are assigned by editors for use first in the magazine and then published online. Increasingly, Web-first content has found a home in the magazine. When it does, it’s always updated and repackaged with additional reporting or print-only elements. One new magazine feature, The Conversation, began online as a series of interlinking posts and comments which were subsequently recast for print as a “story” in a conversational format. And soon, marketers who participated in our AdVoice program will have the opportunity to produce content on Forbes.com that will be contextually integrated into The Conversation in the magazine.

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The evolving and scalable Forbes content engine is based on the concept of distributed authorship. In both print and digital, the system helped streamline the editing process and bring the content creator into more direct contact with the business news consumer – and sometimes our marketing partners, too.

Most Forbes magazine stories are assigned by editors for use first in the magazine and then published online. Increasingly, Web-first content has found a home in the magazine. When it does, it’s always updated and repackaged with additional reporting or print-only elements. One new magazine feature, The Conversation, began online as a series of interlinking posts and comments which were subsequently recast for print as a “story” in a conversational format. And soon, marketers who participated in our AdVoice program will have the opportunity to produce content on Forbes.com that will be contextually integrated into The Conversation in the magazine.

But before we began to attack all that, and always the first consideration before we embark upon future ventures, we focused on the Forbes voice. That was actually the easy part. The Forbes mission is so powerful and clear that defining our voice has been far simpler for us than most in the media. Our message remains unchanged after nearly 100 years. We’re about free enterprise, the entrepreneurial spirit, investing, success, and the rewards that come with it.

I don’t care if you’re a weekly, a biweekly, or a monthly, you must offer readers a tightly-focused lens through which to view the world. Your voice must be unwavering, unambiguous, and unapologetic. Magazines that don’t put forth an unequivocally clear and authentic voice will be niche-picked to death by more nimble digital brands that will lure readers to their online content.

Clarity like this – for both business news consumers and our staffers and contributors – is more vital than ever.
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