WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — Launched in 1998, E&E Publishing started with six employees producing high-priced subscription energy policy coverage out of Washington D.C. and has grown into an award-winning online news outlet with an editorial staff of forty-five and bureaus in San Francisco and New York City. Over the years, the company’s readership has grown from roughly 1,000 to 40,000, and includes major corporate subscribers such as General Electric, US state governments, law firms, and lobbying groups.
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E&E’s reporters produce stories on a range of issues from U.S. environmental regulation to global energy markets, climate change, and the mining sector. The material is delivered through a variety of outlets: ClimateWire aims to bring readers coverage of the climate policy debate; Environment & Energy Daily is read by policy makers tracking issues on Capitol Hill; Greenwire offers comprehensive coverage of the news of the day, everything from endangered species to natural disasters; Land Letter provides reporting on natural resource policy issues. In recent years, E&E Publishing has branched into video and webcasts, including OnPoint, a daily broadcast of interviews with energy and environmental policy leaders recorded in the company’s studios on Capitol Hill.
The company’s philosophy is “high-tech business with an old-school approach to journalism.” E&E Publishing’s editor-in-chief Kevin Braun was a journalist when he went to work for the publishing arm of the think tank Environmental and Energy Study Institute, and eventually bought that portion of the Institute with business partner Michael Witt. E&E Publishing’s continued reliance on boots-on-the-ground journalism is one of its defining characteristics, says Braun: “We do almost all original reporting. We have a very extensive travel budget, extensive and time consuming projects on things like water shortages in Kenya, litigation over oil drilling in Venezuela. Not too many organizations are doing that anymore.”
E&E Publishing published its coverage of energy and environmental legislation in a printed weekly until 2000, when it switched to an online format. The key to the company’s business model is that it practices what Braun described as “escalated pricing,” selling subscriptions to organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency or financial institutions rather than marketing to individuals. “It’s a lot more valuable than trying to sell one print subscription to one person at one organization,” says Braun. The result is that “our subscription revenue is pretty good.”
Stories published through E&E Publishing’s services like Greenwire are beginning to garner a larger general audience thanks to an agreement with The New York Times. Greenwire sends as many as eight stories a day to the newspaper’s energy and business online section. Greenwire gives the newspaper the stories for free but they generate traffic to E&E Publishing’s site. More importantly, the arrangement means that Greenwire stories are indexed by search engines, which creates traffic, and attracts trial subscriptions.
The most unique element of the company remains, according to Braun, the sheer volume of content produced by the team of reporters. “I don’t think anyone else is putting out an integrated service on so many policy issues,” Braun says. But the company’s success is mainly due to the company’s commitment to unbiased reporting. “We’re obviously in a very politically heated policy area. What people put value on is objective information,” Braun says. “We’ve got no interest in policy outcome at all; our point is just what’s happening.”
E&E Publishing Data
Name: E&E Publishing
City: Washington, D.C.
Principal Staff: Cyril Zaneski, editor, Greenwire; John Fialka, editor, ClimateWire; Josh Kurtz, editor, E&E Daily; Kevin Braun, editor-in-chief.
Affiliations: Content: Provides content to The New York Times
CMS: MySQL, RubyOnRails