Pressing Issues – Reinventing Journalism with Long and Engaging Stories



We all love stories.  The ones that tell us the real deal behind a public policy, or if a proposed war strategy is in favor of the economy. In good olden days, we had unbiased critic views on a wide range of things delivered through our local newspaper. As with everything else going digital, News has too acquired the form of Facebook News Feed for most of us. With the Advertiser-supported model behind a lot of famous digital media houses, the master craft of story telling is lost somewhere and we get shorter, incompletely researched and irrational articles floating all around. This needs to be fixed.

Brad Merill, the Editor in Chief at Venture Break announced the launch of Pressing Issues, with the mission of reinventing journalism. When asked about why we need this, he says, “It all started when a small group of journalists decided they wanted something new to read. They were looking for a news magazine that not only told them everything that was happening around the world each week, but that did so in an entertaining way. Ideally it would be gleefully sweary and eager to offend the rich and powerful. They realized this meant it probably wouldn’t include any ads. Upon realizing that this magazine didn’t actually exist, they decided to create it. And thus Pressing Issues was born.” Brad is the  Editor in Chief and Simon Ellinas dons the role of Art Director, who illustrates the publication (we’re 100% illustrated—no photos), along with quite a few contributing journalists with incredible talent.

Brad feels it’s time to make Journalism big again, and plans to achieve this by publishing 3,000-word pieces online, and 10,000-word pieces in print. Currently, Pressing Issues is digital-only and goes live on October 7th, at $3 a month.A radio show / podcast will be supplementing the publication, where the contributors talk about their pieces and expand on their coverage. The magazine plans to cover good stories, preferably really big ones. “For example, one of our first pieces is about a former cop in Las Vegas who wrote a book encouraging the use of hostage negotiation techniques to manipulate women for sex and, in his words, “get past no.” He’s now in charge of a downtown watch group intended to keep people (particularly women who get off work late) safe in the city—presumably from the very things he advocates in his book. Not the best man for the job, I’d say, so we’re exposing the whole thing”, says Brad. Pressing Issues gets to compete with the likes of The New York Times and few other respected publications for this, but everything starts small.

Journalism is a hard business to monetize, especially if done without advertising. Pressing Issues plans to go the 100% reader-supported route, and the team is confident enough that there are people willing to pay for great journalism to sustain their business. Currently, the team is raising money pre-launch by offering “sponsored subscriptions,” where a company purchases 6-month subscriptions in bulk to let early subscribers in for free (for six months).

“I’ve been blown away (and humbled) by how excited people are about this project and how willing they are to support it financially”, concludes Brad.


Image Credit: Jon S