JC / Railbird

Projects Archive

KYC Past and Future

Dear Kentucky Confidential backers, sponsors, contributors, and readers:

Thank you for supporting Kentucky Confidential in 2011-2012.

You may have heard that Kentucky Confidential is returning this month. It isn’t, or at least, KYC, as I originally conceived it, and as I published it with co-founder John Scheinman these past two years, is not returning. After two years of enjoying the rush of being at Churchill Downs during Kentucky Derby week and working on a fun experiment in Derby storytelling and online media, the project had run its course for me.

Scheinman has decided to carry on with the name.

If you are considering sponsoring or contributing to KYC 2013, you should be aware that the project’s originator and co-founder has chosen not to be involved. If you are being sold a sponsorship that draws on traffic data from 2011-2012, you should know that KYC 2013 will not be published at the same URL as the previous KYC, that its producers do not have access to previous years’ mailing lists or registered user information, and that its content, design, and social media will not be guided by the same team.

I am very proud to have been part of KYC 2011-2012, and I wish Scheinman luck with his Kentucky Derby coverage this spring, but I also would like those who have been most supportive and interested in KYC to be aware of its changed circumstances.

Good News Confidential

What cheer! Kentucky Confidential is featured in this week’s Three Chimneys Good News Friday spot on the Paulick Report:

More than anything, it’s refreshing to see those so passionate about our industry willing to find innovative ways to accomplish their career goals. They are not taking the easy road by using the challenging circumstances we all face to complain about the lack of opportunity. They are creating their future in the industry on their own terms and challenging the marketplace …

“There’s such a paradigm shift that we don’t know the end result or where it’s leading,” said Scheinman. “But the opportunity is there to create something new…. People who think race writing is a dying art, this is your opportunity to support it.”

Absolutely. Pledge, and not only will your support directly contribute to the creation of original Derby coverage, we’ll give you some pretty great rewards to go along with all the stories you’ll find on Kentucky Confidential.

7:30 PM Addendum: I love this comment left by Nancy on the PR piece: “Really excited to get involved with community funded journalism through Kentucky Confidential. As a racing fan, I am thrilled at the opportunity to support racing news and get an inside view of the race. I hope more people help fund this endeavor and others like it! ” Thanks so much, Nancy!

Talking KYC

At Raceday 360, I talk with Dana Byerly about plans for Kentucky Confidential and why we’re using Kickstarter for the project. A couple things I should have said came to me after the interview appeared — for instance, handicapping is a small part of what John Scheinman will be covering as our lead for daily Derby coverage. He’ll be everywhere! Not just buried in past performances. And re: Kickstarter, the decision to use it was more than a matter of the project fitting the model. It’s also an experiment into finding new ways to sustain original, independent turf journalism. And the best part is, as our photographer Scott Serio wrote on his site, “you decide how much the content is worth. That’s right — YOU DECIDE.” We hope you’ll decide it’s worth something.

Kentucky Confidential

There’s always a thrill in announcing a new project, and I couldn’t be more excited to announce this one, which has quickly grown from a small idea into something surprising — introducing Kentucky Confidential, a website dedicated to covering the 2011 Kentucky Derby inside, outside, and all around. We’ll begin publishing on April 26 and run through May 9. Read our press release (PDF), or better yet, visit our Kickstarter page for all the details and a terrific video introduction featuring my collaborator John Scheinman, as shot by contributor and filmmaker Jeff Krulik.

We’re taking a different approach to Derby coverage. We won’t be competing on breaking news, or workout analysis, or bloggy commentary. Instead, we’ll be treating the Derby “as the greatest storytelling platform in American sports,” digging into unusual stats and Derby history, bringing readers the overlooked and unexpected through long-form writing and guerrilla video. There will be contender updates and handicapping — but there’ll also be dives through Louisville nightlife and wild tales from the backstretch.

Scheinman and I have lined up a great bunch of contributors. In addition to Krulik, who will be producing a video Derby diary, Pete Denk, Claire Novak, Brendan O’Meara, and a legendary turf journalist (an award-winning name so big we can’t reveal it) will be writing for Kentucky Confidential. Scott Serio and his band at Eclipse Sportswire will be doing the photography.

A big thanks to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, which has signed on as a charter sponsor. We’re delighted to have their support!

We can also use your support, and that’s where Kickstarter, a platform that lets people back creative projects and get rewards for doing so, comes in. We’re using Kickstarter to help raise funds to cover costs, and we’re offering great perks to pledgers. You can back us for any amount — and only if the project is fully funded by its end date will we get the money. It’s neat — you can’t lose! If we’re not funded, you’re not out anything. If we do get funded — you’ll get Kentucky Confidential and the sort of turf writing and video you want to see online, plus premiums such as an exclusive Twitter feed, a commemorative DVD or magazine, or an autographed photograph.

I’ll leave it to Scheinman to tell you more —

Follow Kentucky Confidential: We’re on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks, too, Hello Race Fans! We’re partnering with our friends at that site to make fan education part of the Derby experience.

12:30 PM Update: Claire Novak writes about Kentucky Confidential on NTRA:

In this modern world of instantaneous information, the pursuit of coverage as a literary art often falls by the wayside. Quality control is compromised. Overproduction threatens the writer’s creativity. Originality is a dying pursuit. Publishing venues are also vanishing, and the interest in writing on racing in general has declined. But there are still places that seek out and feature excellent literature and unique work, and I’m pleased to introduce one of them – Kentucky Confidential, a new online magazine with a strong emphasis on high-quality literary coverage of this year’s Kentucky Derby.

This really gets to the heart of why we’re working on Kentucky Confidential — it’s a space for the sort of reflective, original turf journalism that’s been squeezed out of so many publications. Please consider supporting the site — our content will be free, whether you pledge or not, but if you do back us, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped sustain a true craft (as well as the pleasure of reading the great content you helped create).