5 Websites Leading the Way in Online Publishing

By Maribeth Neelis

When Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post, we all asked how will this change the world of publishing. But the truth is publishing is already undergoing major transformations, becoming more collaborative and emphasizing quality over quantity, and these websites are leading the way and worth it to check out.

Medium is a publishing platform from the creators of Blogger and Twitter. While it is still figuring itself out, its clean design makes it easy on the eyes. The content is interesting and varied, and readers can comment throughout the articles, creating dialogues with the writer and other visitors, making reading an interactive affair.

Epic Magazine is the brainchild of two fantastic narrative nonfiction writers Joshuah Bearman and Joshua Davis. Currently, they are the only writers, and the site has just a handful of longform stories about all kinds of crazy and true adventures. Think the kind of pieces that are optioned into movies. In fact, Bearman wrote the article that became Argo. And they have big plans for growing this new publishing platform.

Longform recommends new and classic nonfiction and fiction from around the web, which can be read immediately in your browser or saved for later. The site is all about celebrating well reported, longer-form writing. P.S. for any writer-types, they have a great podcast.

Atavist wants to pave the way for the next generation of multimedia storytelling and reach readers on any device. These nonfiction, longform pieces are peppered with audio, video and photographs that give the stories a cinematic feel.  They are available for purchase on the site for $2.99. 

Buzz Reads, is the longform arm of the website Buzzfeed, famous for bringing funny lists to your Facebook feed. The nonfiction pieces on Buzz Reads are on interesting topics, like searching for sunk treasure in the Great Lakes and python hunting in the Everglades.

What do you like to read online?

Behind the Scenes With Cheyenne Frontier Days' Marketing Director Nicole Gamst

By Maribeth Neelis

Cheyenne Frontier Days Marketing Director Nicole Gamst is an east coaster. Well, she used to be. Born in Texas and raised in Boston, the western lifestyle always appealed to her. So in 1999 when Cheyenne Frontier Days called, she packed her bags and headed west, something she always envisioned herself doing.

What drew her to Cheyenne Frontier Days in particular: its celebration of the western lifestyle, heritage and culture.

That, and the fact that she gets to wear many hats.

"I like the variety," she says. "I get to do everything from research to social media to advertising. I get to see the full scope of the marketing function, not just a sliver."

Nicole is pretty much always on call during the event, which runs mid-summer every year. But her  work is cyclical; there's never much downtime, even after the event ends.

Currently, she's outlining the 2014 strategy. In late fall, she will announce the artists for next year and promote them through events and press releases. The winter months are dedicated to developing advertising. In the spring, they shift to executing their strategy, hitting consumers with advertising and web features as they are starting to think about their summer entertainment.

"That's one aspect I enjoy the most," Nicole says, "There is always something new."

She also appreciates the event's historical significance for Cheyenne. "It is a well established event in the community. I get to work with volunteers who have been involved in producing this show for generations."

Come check Cheyenne Frontier Days next year July 18-27, 2014.

Everyone, Meet Healthcare Reform

By Maribeth Neelis

Until recently, I kind of put healthcare reform on the back burner in my mind, filed it with The General Theory of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics under things I am definitely going to sit down and figure out one day.

Well, that day has arrived, at least for the healthcare part.

Just like physics theories, healthcare reform is not incredibly intuitive. But we have access to a whole division of experts who haven't been procrastinating like we have, The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI).

Colorado Is the Best
In addition to sunshine and mountains, Coloradans have one more thing to brag about: a state government that has been proactively planning for healthcare reform.

Communications Manager at the Colorado Division of Insurance Vince Plymell says, "Coloradans are lucky, because our state is adjusting to healthcare reform in a positive way, trying to communicate to citizens their choices, creating a state exchange instead of allowing the feds to create one, as other states are doing."

To see the latest health plan choices offered through the exchange, check out Connect for Health Colorado.

Getting the Word Out
The task of preparing consumers for the changes they may face over the next few years is daunting. First of all, health insurance isn't necessarily riveting subject matter.

"It's a complex subject to communicate, so people procrastinate and don't deal with it until they absolutely must," Vince says. "Just engaging people on this topic is difficult."

But time is on the DOI's side. Love it or hate it, Obamacare is becoming a reality.

"Just the march of time is helping us to get the information out. This is happening, and people are starting to realize that, as we get closer to 2014. People must have health insurance or they will be fined."

And with a decidedly consumerist angle, health insurance has piqued the media's interest as well, which never hurts.

What Vince and the DOI Want Consumers to Know

The DOI is here for you.
The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) regulates the insurance industry and helps consumers with insurance issues. First and foremost, they are here for you.

Healthcare reform is going to be OK.
People will have options and choices, and should explore them. The DOI can help those dealing with health insurance for the first time. Its goal is to help educate consumers to ask the right questions and find answers about terms, benefits, and the truth about those rumors they heard around the water cooler.

There are advantages.
Now, no one can be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions or health history. And, individuals can get much more affordable coverage through the health insurance exchanges.

Please, use the DOI as a resource.
There is a ton of information on the DOI website. But Vince also encourages people to call and speak with an expert at 303-894-7490 or toll free at 800-930-3745.

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