Slant News Growing, With 70% Of Revenue Going To Writers

Slant PlatformWhat if user-generated content platforms paid their creators? That’s the premise behind Slant News, which is attracting millennial writers by giving them 70% of the advertising revenue they generate.

“Slant’s vision is to crowdsource the news,” CEO and publisher Aviram Elad said. “Today, people usually do it on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, or maybe their own blog, but they don’t have the right platform, a professional platform, to do newsworthy stories.”

Call Slant a halfway point between Medium and Mic.

To prove out the idea of a crowdsourced news platform, Slant News started with a short beta, during which its initial traffic grew from 200,000 visitors in July to 1.1 million unique visits in September, according to internal data. (It’s too small to be tracked by comScore.)

When it graduated from beta in September, it had 650 stories produced by 100 writers. In November, 1,800 stories were posted, created by 600 writers. Slant News has been visiting college campuses and freelancer unions to encourage writers to join the platform.

A decent story might pay in the $40 to $50 range, according to editorial director Amanda Gutterman. Those advertising dollars come completely from programmatic advertising. Eventually, Slant News will explore other monetization options, like direct sales, as its audience grows. Top writers earn a couple thousand dollars a month.

“Every writer on Slant is a salesman of his own creation,” Gutterman said. Writers learn how to utilize their own social networks to distribute the content. Although Slant News has its own Facebook page, “Sometimes the largest distribution comes not from us but the writer.”

Slant tries to set up its writers for success by using what Gutterman terms “social editing.” The Slant platform offers suggestions as the writer creates the story to make it more successful on social platforms. Then, Slant’s team edits it by hand before posting.

After a story posts, writers can look at analytics to see how their work performs and get tips for how to distribute their stories better.

Slant News’ strategy is to go for the scrappy, undiscovered stories that might not get play elsewhere. An interview with the Green Party candidate for president, Jill Stein, performed well in part because of the boost it received from the candidate’s social network. Gutterman also believes that the diversity of the writers on Slant – over half women and half people of color – will make it a go-to destination for unique perspectives.

While Slant plans to continue outreach to grow its US writer base in 2016, it also wants to diversify geographically, adding in other countries and other languages.

If Gutterman has her way, Slant will become a place not only for news commentary but also for lifestyle content, like recipe collections, and even breaking news – a way for passersby who capture breaking news with cell phones to become citizen journalists.


1 Comment

  1. What a nice looking site and great idea. Their SEO, though, is a mess. Staff profile pages are their biggest hit in Google and it's all due to the AJAX. I wonder how much more authors will make if they can recode.


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