Where do mainstream journalists go to reinvent themselves? Some move into PR, others into blogging, some both. Others, like former Far Eastern Economic Review editor and reguolar International herald Tribune contributor Philip Bowring and former managing editor of The Standard John Berthelsen, go on to freelance and eventually try to start up a “standalone internet publishing site,” the Asia Sentinel.
The website goes live today and, in a letter addressed to undisclosed recipients, Bowring says that it was “created by journalists, myself included, to provide a platform for news, analysis and opinion on Asian affairs, national and regional and encompassing politics, business, society and the arts.”
Bowring also goes on to say that The Asia Sentinel is meant to “fill the gaps in coverage left by the decline and fall of regional English-language print publications.” It’s a worthwhile endeavor as there are almost no in-depth English publications left of any note that cover Asia seriously.
The question is whether the Asia Sentinel team are the right ones to pull it off. The other journalists in this venture are Lin Neumann, a former Executive Editor of The Standard and Anthony Spaeth, most recently executive editor for Time Asia.
Will they be the A Team that restores good, in-depth reading to English language readers in Asia, or would they be a latter day incarnation of the Hong Kong Ronin? (see my earlier posting Where Have all the good reads Gone? for a discussion on the decline of in-depth coverage in Asia and the curious role of the Hong Kong Ronin in the fates of English-language publications in Asia).
It would be good if Bowring et al can succeed as Asia needs some real serious journalism apart from the Mickey Mouse coverage of CNN, the BBC and the Wall Street Journal.
At any rate freelancers take heart, the Asia Sentinel is willing to pay for articles on publication. I enclose a letter that Bowring sent out today:
“This is an invitation to you to contribute to http://www.asiasentinel.com, a website which has just gone live.
The website has been created by journalists, myself included, to provide a platform for news, analysis and opinion on Asian affairs, national and regional and encompassing politics, business, society and the arts.
The project is being started on a shoestring with the intention of showing what can be done with a modest budget to fill the gaps in coverage left by the decline and fall of regional English-language print publications. We believe the time for stand-alone internet publishing has arrived and that this project can attract sufficient backing from investors aware of the rapid growth of internet-based revenues to become self-sustaining.
The site is open to contributions from all reputable sources including professionals and academics as well as journalists. It will use pseudonyms if necessary to protect the identity of the writer. Standard payments per article will be US$200 per article, paid on publication. Normal length is assume to be 1,000 words but is very flexible. Editing will be for clarity, length and accuracy. There will be no attempt to impose a homogeneous style.
Not only would we welcome contributions from you but hope that you would encourage reputable local journalists to follow and contribute to the website. But before sending material on spec, please contact either myself or the editor, John Berthelsen — firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope to hear from you