Will New Yorkers pay for a new Web site offering detailed coverage of Brooklyn? And will a new Web site offering detailed coverage of Brooklyn pay New Yorkers?
These questions can’t be answered yet, but they have been posed appealingly in the online prospectus for Bklynr (pronounced “Brooklyner”), a subscription-only Web site that says it will publish three new in-depth articles every two weeks, beginning April 4. It is the creation of three Columbia Spectator alumni: Thomas Rhiel, 24, who lives in Fort Greene; Raphael Pope-Sussman, 25, who comes from Park Slope but now lives in Crown Heights; and Ben Cotton, 24, of the West Village. (The West Village?)
“Neither Ben nor I went into journalism,” Mr. Rhiel said. “He’s a McKinsey consultant and I’m now a ‘user education specialist’ at Google, on the Docs and Drive team. Raf’s at Law360, a legal wire service, which is journalism-like, but it doesn’t quite scratch the itch. All three of us were looking for a passion project related to journalism, and now Bklynr’s it.”
Among the contributors who have already signed on is Alexandria Symonds, 24, the online editor of Interview magazine, who lives on the Lower East Side. (The Lower East Side?) As an example of the kind of article Bklynr readers might expect, Mr. Rhiel offered Ms. Symonds’s 2011 report on the phenomenon of “authentrification” — in which high-priced new commercial establishments take on the aesthetic trappings of the industrial or modest businesses they’re displacing.
Other contributors include Zach Meyer, 22, an illustrator, who lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant; Naima Green, 23, a photographer, of Bronxville (Bronxville?); and Julia Halperin, 23, a writer and the news editor of Art + Auction, who lives on Union Square. (Union Square?)
The subscription rate of $2 a month works out to 33 cents an article. That drops a nickel, to 28 cents, with a yearlong, $20 subscription.
Incredibly enough, Bklynr plans to pay for work. “Thomas and Raphael have a very specific and well-developed payment plan for their contributors,” Ms. Symonds said.
“I’m used to being paid more than Bklynr was able to reasonably promise at first, and I imagine that’s probably true of at least several of my fellow contributors as well,” she added. “The primary draw for me — and, I would imagine, for them — is the chance to write pieces about which I’m really passionate, and to work on those pieces on an in-depth level with talented, thoughtful editors who aren’t overextended by a glut of content. That’s getting harder and harder to find.”