Popbitch seeks funding for full colour magazine-style tablet edition

Popbitch co-founder Camilla Wright plans tablet edition of pop culture gossip newsletter

Celebrity gossip and pop-culture newsletter Popbitch is finally seeking to give itself a digital makeover as it seeks £25,000 of funding through Kickstarter to launch a tablet edition.

The gossip newsletter, which is emailed to 400,000 people each week, has been entertaining the world for more than 13 years.

Along the way, it has broken plenty of stories, as well as surviving a superinjunction and being described by The New York Times as “the scurrilous music industry email bulletin”, and by the London Evening Standard as the place “where the Beckhams’ secrets are buried”.

Run by co-founder Camilla Wright, it now wants to take the next step and take advantage of its strong brand to develop something built not for the email, but for the tablet generation.

The wonder is that it took it so long to make the leap. What is certainly true is that with the proliferation of tablets, the time is most definitely right for Popbitch to grow.

The new tablet app is to feature contributions from The Power of Nightmares documentary-maker Adam Curtis.

His first contribution will be an online video called ‘Popbitch: the next generation’, which is being made in collaboration with Brass Eye and South Park writer Jane Bussman.

“To have good journalism you have to pay for it, it’s as simple as that. Good longform journalism and proper investigations cannot be made for free. There is less money in journalism and we want to use the skills of people who are well trained and experienced and need outlets – both world-famous names and so-far unknown talents, ” Wright said.

According to its Kickstarter appeal for funding, the scope of tablet technology will help Popbitch “shine a brighter light into the darkest corners of media, music, politics, sport and technology; even more than we can manage in our weekly email”.

It initially plans to create a test tablet edition developed and designed exclusively for its Kickstarter backers to own. This will be its chance to see what works and what doesn’t, and for its Kickstarter supporters to get their input.

If the project works, and the money comes in, Popbitch will begin publishing Popbitch for tablets regularly – either on a monthly or fortnightly basis.

The bulk of the money raised will go towards developing and building the app. Anything else raised over and above this amount will be put into the fund for 2013 and will pay for among other things, a bigger editorial budget for the operation, which has been run on a shoestring until now.

Not about paparazzi shots

What the tablet edition isn’t about is paparazzi shots of famous people taking their kids to school.

A Popbitch statement said: “We don’t care who has sweat patches on the red carpet. And we won’t write things just to linkbait or lobby politicians so that we can pursue some weird personal cause.”

What it will cover

Popbitch says it wants to document “the real truth of these celebrity fuelled times, not just the PR-approved version”.

This will include “the ridiculous stuff, the fun, the craziness and the horror”. It says there will also be room for the kind of story that the rich and famous employ armies of lawyers to stop you from hearing – in other words the kinds of stories that have entertained Popbitch readers for more than a decade.

“We will continue to put stupid jokes, funny rumours and scurrilous tales from the media and entertainment world into the mix, but this will also greatly increase our capacity to commission exciting and original journalism, proper investigations and innovative features.

“We’re in a great position to showcase some of the most interesting and funniest writers, tenacious reporters, ground-breaking photographers and cartoonists, thoughtful TV and video film makers, as many of them have been Popbitch contributors and readers over the years.”

What you can expect from Popbitch the tablet

A video that features the best thing you’re ever likely to see David Icke doing

An exclusive excerpt from South Park writer Jane Bussmann’s new project, based on her popular stage show ‘Bono and Geldof are c***s’

A critical study of the Nazi zombie movie genre

A night out with Premier League footballers

Plus lots of insider secrets from the worlds of TV, media and the music industry