helicopter-crop.jpg
angels-of-death-resized-padding.jpg
stories.jpg
helicopter-crop.jpg

License to spy


SCROLL DOWN

License to spy


Accountant Arthur Ureche was heading to work in Hollywood Hills on Jan. 30 last year when he turned his Enterprise rental onto Laurel Canyon Boulevard and noticed four LAPD squad cars following him.

He guessed that their presence involved another celebrity “S.W.A.T.-ing” incident: teen hackers had been sending police units to the homes of stars, including Ashton Kutcher, Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus.

So Ureche, 40, pulled his white Chevy compact over and waited for them to pass.

 When he checked the rear-view mirror, he saw that they’d spread out across the road a good distance behind and were blocking traffic. He couldn’t imagine they’d have any interest in him, a union dues administrator in a button-down shirt whose last traffic ticket, at age 19, was for driving too slowly.

But something was definitely wrong. Five cops crouched behind car doors, their weapons aimed in his direction.

By Chris Francescani. Photos by Jenny McCabe.

Read the full story →


angels-of-death-resized-padding.jpg

angels of death


American arms traffickers are not who you think. 

SCROLL DOWN

angels of death


American arms traffickers are not who you think. 

Tiana never saw herself as a killer.

The daughter of a prostitute, she grew up in an inner city housing project surrounded by crack cocaine, day-time shootings and illicit money making. Hustling was in her family's blood. Her grandmother ran an after-hours booze business from their apartment, selling bottles of beer and pints of liquor until three in the morning.

For Tiana, who was determined not to follow her mother into the sex trade, guns became the hustle. 

Buying weapons for the men in her life—a practice that police call straw purchasing—was easy money.

"I hung out a lot with guys because I didn't figure that women could teach me anything," she told me. "Guys taught me ... to deal with the street. And part of that was guns."

By Dan Patterson. Illustrations by Orlin Culture Shop.

Read the full story →

stories.jpg

Introducing Contently.org


We're proud to introduce Contently.org, the philanthropic friend of Contently Inc. 

SCROLL DOWN

Introducing Contently.org


We're proud to introduce Contently.org, the philanthropic friend of Contently Inc. 

We're very proud to introduce The Contently Foundation, the philanthropic friend of Contently, Inc.

What exactly, you might be forgiven for asking, is a company that's barely 3 1/2 years old doing launching a non-profit wing? It's pretty simple actually. 

We started Contently with the mission of creating a better media world for everyone—readers, publishers, and advertisers. Using our software and talent we've made great strides towards our goal, eradicating content farms and providing well-paying work to freelance journalists and other creatives. But there's always been a piece missing—the capital J journalism which led us into this profession in the first place. 

It's tough to make public-interest journalism profitable, and since traditional media's business models have collapsed, it's become even tougher. Still, as the legacy players have shed jobs and cut reporting budgets, investigative reporting has flowered in other places. Some of them are non-profits like ProPublica, others are new-school publishers like Vox and Buzzfeed. But all of them share our belief that great journalism is vital to a functioning democracy.  

Get involved 

 

And so here we are—using the profits from our software business to help fund stories in the public interest. And why shouldn't we? Plenty of companies devote corporate philanthropy dollars to causes that they hold dear, and Contently—founded by and for journalists—believes in a strong and flourishing fourth estate. This is us putting our money where our mouth is. 

Of course, there will be questions. Like, how can a site affiliated with a for-profit corporation be trusted to pursue stories that may not be in our best interests? That’s why we’ve set up The Contently Foundation as a separate corporate entity, with an independent board and a separate charter. We want to empower the journalists at The Contently Foundation to pursue the truth, regardless of how it might affect Contently, Inc’s bottom line. 

At the end of the day though, we will (and should) be judged on the quality of our reporting. 

We know we are not the only ones who believe in the transformative power of stories. So if you’re a journalist with a story you want to pursue, or a brand who believes in what we’re doing, or a news outlet that wants to combine forces, we hope you’ll join us.