Redesigning News, Deeply

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Redesigning News, Deeply
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Web page Sine File format Correspondence (mathematics) Similarity (geometry) Drop (liquid) Product (business) Hypermedia Logic Ideal (ethics) Self-organization Quicksort Nichtlineares Gleichungssystem Traffic reporting
Serial port Hypermedia Sine Personal digital assistant Moment (mathematics) Mathematical analysis Drop (liquid) Volume (thermodynamics) Mass Resultant
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Web page Source code Charge carrier Sound effect Self-organization Cycle (graph theory) Extension (kinesiology) Resultant Twitter
Covering space Revision control Ewe language Presentation of a group Process (computing) Internetworking Wage labour Multiplication sign Website Grass (card game) Mereology
Web page Point (geometry) Dataflow Information Multiplication sign Real number Set-top box Device driver Plastikkarte Public domain Revision control Mathematics Semiconductor memory Quicksort Simulation Exception handling Window
Point (geometry) Complex (psychology) Information Multiplication sign Execution unit First-order logic Word CNN Oval Gastropod shell Energy level Data conversion Series (mathematics) Species
Web page Revision control Group action Presentation of a group Information State of matter Expert system Matrix (mathematics) Object (grammar) Cartesian coordinate system Product (business)
Observational study Multiplication sign Gradient Student's t-test
Building Vapor barrier Service (economics) Inheritance (object-oriented programming) Optimization problem Planning Student's t-test Number Type theory Commitment scheme Hypermedia Business model Pressure
Default (computer science) Single-precision floating-point format Universe (mathematics) Commitment scheme Endliche Modelltheorie Wave packet
Trail Hypermedia Software developer Vertex (graph theory) Mereology Twitter Hypercube Product (business)
Web page Channel capacity Ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy Content (media) Mereology
Domain name Point (geometry) Observational study Personal digital assistant Spacetime
Point (geometry) Commitment scheme Partial derivative
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Personal digital assistant Expert system Cycle (graph theory) Information privacy
Robotics Projective plane Data conversion
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Exterior algebra Single-precision floating-point format Universe (mathematics) Streaming media Endliche Modelltheorie Mereology Traffic reporting Information technology consulting Resultant Physical system
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but we know that
and and that and that
a without it so know well hello this is my 1st time in Berlin it's very
exciting I'm thrilled to be here I just after gracious host arguments really on time for everything and he said yes I'm from the Middle East were were not so actually find it fascinating phenomenon I came out to Berlin to share the work that has been mined labor of love and it's something might seem created as you sort of the and something that we think we know very well which is the news the way we tell stories that way we share information there where we can see
the media as a whole where we are optimizing for as journalists if you ask me were optimizing for knowledge transfer
media is adult education so that because everything we had learned in the digital domain plus everything we've experienced it the as field reporters led us to build a serious deeply now to share a story I don't usually use myself as data but in this particular case we are an important case study because
on 1 hand I think what we've done is special and clearly comes from a fusion of heart and mind but even though it's special it's not particularly unique we're part of a growing phenomenon a trend in digital
publishing toward what were called call-waiting as the hyper topical news revolution we saw hyperlocal news and now we're seeing a wave of hybrid topical there's an as the venture
down this creative experience of a start that became news deeply was really a passion project that became a social enterprise that became a start up called cultures
deeply we found ourselves in the middle of the bigger broader trend that says something very potent and very uh sort of high potential for the future use so with that all tell you my story I started out as you heard as a television reporter for ABC News and Bloomberg I was based in Dubai
covering the Middle East when I was 25 years old i was with ABC News in New York basically out with a camera and that has to cover the Islamic Republic of Iran and later and more broadly the animal so here was ABC News really trying to expand its reach in each the international reporting domain by giving a something all the tools of technology and seeing what would come of it it was amazing it was an incredible experience dream job
absolutely wonderful and I found myself
certainly you know heading over there are now 32 in 2007 as a 25 year old the in the midst of a generational change we talk about Millennials on right on the cusp by the definition of the Pew Center sort of demarcation of a millennial on right on the line so I was growing up at my
career alongside the rise of the Arab Millennials that were being this way ultimately of regional change but also my career grows with the rise of Twitter so when it came time for the Arab Spring we really want to unfold hashtag by hashtag This is a hashtag timeline of how the Arab Awakening happen in terms of what we were seeing it started to be shared with the CD blues Edo uprising essentially
a young man set himself on fire and secrecy that coming Tunisia's revolution and becoming known as hashtags sees the net next came the Egyptian protests on january 20 5th what came to be known as the top pre-revolutionary February 14 in Bahrain which became the loose Square uprising February 17 in Libya February 28 in Yemen and finally in Syria and what I noticed as a journalist with that because Syria came last in the order of revolution it got the least attention we
were all fixated on the fight to oust Qaddafi and by the time that conflict that story line had sort of tapered in the international press weird story fatigue we were kind of done with the Arab Spring story so it kinda Syria I will often say we had an 11 problems when there was a story on series it was often on page 11 and if was ever in the headlines what happened in between the times of would turned out on the front page was completely incomprehensible I was not a
serious specialist I'm still not a serious specialist but I you alive serious specialists and more importantly I know a lot of serious so I had some personal family ties relatives from serious but more importantly I want to know the country and I really cared about what was going on there and I noticed that there was practically no space discovery in any of the mainstream press it's a complicated story by the time we checked in this is already 60 months into the protesters I could tell it was a highly consequential story with the very low levels of comprehension so here was come to the consequences and here was comprehension and I've never seen such as
vast gap I also have this feeling that as a global presence we had failed coverage of the Iraq war and not just at the beginning but toward the end when we were still there and we had stopped paying attention so I figured if we stop paying attention to Iraq as an American press generally speaking there is a drop in coverage if we were paying attention when we were there we were practically lost when it came to
Syria which was already a very complicated story so I took a pause from television actually it all started when I I did sort of product development without realizing it I drew my personal notebook you know what would be the ultimate story page for serious if you try to put a roof over story what would it look like and that is because I have red Jane McGonigal spoke reality is broken the left a huge impact on me and she talked about user experience in such a novel way as such an accessible way that it not thinking about the user experience of everything what was the user experience the party I just want to what the user experience of my ride on the subway and she has this concept of an interpreter the accused deciding on the concept of pause that POS at the positive experience of something to start thinking about how to I enhance the user experience of this serious story in a way that enhances pause that makes
it more accessible makes it more of a learning journey so I drew it in my new book what I thought would be the ideal story page for hysteria I started showing it to everyone I knew and there was a lot of
interest that my industry couldn't really see it so you know they don't already have candidacy OK and it's really hard in a way sometimes to innovate within an industry especially when it comes to products and formats so and a lot the foundations we spoke to early on told us we were not doing serious so OK so the industries not to do it and so far the foundations are going to do it so we're going to have to do it so this is what we did we found that because of this market failure and foreign news essentially we started to you know shop what was going on and document widely thought of page like this was necessary in the US and this was a very simple equation bumps some for cost-cutting in all sorts of commercial reasons you're very familiar with foreign news bureaus have largely been shot 20 newspapers and news organizations had cut foreign bureaus entirely now this doesn't really happen in Germany or in Europe logic and you just sometimes being being in Europe if you like the closer to the world that being a US can be quite nicely if you're following US News and US News is cutting all of its foreign euros so they're starting to disappear for similar reasons full-time reporters reporting on the outside world were cut dramatically from 307 full-time correspondence to 234 by
2011 and that is still in there is still some Iraq war coverage and so that accounts for some it and as a result if you get content analysis of what was out there in the foreign press that the uh 40 United States the volume of reporting on what's happening in the world so the raw data is
just not there so we charge that we made the case that essentially the result of that is the mass confusion and uninformed societies and that as a result you found that in critical moments and we saw this last year in critical moments like the US debate over whether to strike serial last year you had 45 per cent of Americans saying that they didn't even know enough about syria to have a opinion on whether to intervene in the US is a country that has a very low bar for having an opinion and still it's a fat and still 45 per cent of Americans could formulate opinions based on what they view of the world so this is what we did and this is you know about 18 months ago we launched serious deeply we thought
we should go 1 story with 1 landing page with the best possible user experience of information it was basically a Content Architecture exercise we took
every type of information we thought was useful about this story and designed it got it got a great UX guided take literally rate that page out of mind over and create what was in this was the beta version we got just long relaunched you can see it at Syria deeply . org and the idea here was to be completely ego free there is no anchor person of deeply we if there's something good out there that is on someone else's website will be linked to and if there's great reporting from serious who
would normally be considered fixers or help 1st we let them right in Arabic and then we translate and publish you know we do everything to produce high fidelity information on what's happening in the conflict that these whatever whatever it can grasp because there are crazy cool things you can do with this information the least we can do we start by putting it all in 1 place so that was the 1st let's put a roof over this and let's optimize for the user experience of the aha moment to the greatest extent possible and that's the ego free and collaborate with other news organizations so we have all sorts of cool stuff background sections we thought you know since news is adult education we should help people understand the basics so we had to do with the timeline of events understanding the key dynamics international participation in this conflict so the coming to page for the 1st time can digest all that stuff we had data amounts of accounts of refugee flows to other countries we did Google Hangouts because I believe that I as a reporter who have the privilege of calling up pretty much anyone and asking for 30 minutes of their time and then putting this much of it in a news report I would rather unlock that and have the whole conversation as a Google hang and let anyone who's wonky enough like I am to be adjusted to watch all 30 minutes about entries and then select from it as needed for the other pieces of content it was really fantastic time that and a really great user response we and Google News boxes and Twitter feeds of hand-picked folks that we thought it would be useful to watch because as long as I I find it as long as you sequester
different types of information people understand that it's to stick to you know or original reporting is not the same fidelity as anyone tweets but collectively
watching those tweets has a very high value has a predictive effect and is more comprehensive than anyone who's out unilaterally but I was useful to put on the page so the
impact was that the functionally half the news cycle and what I mean by that the we were able to become an engine for covering the story and then we found lots of news organizations eager and willing to use according to either go out duplicated or quotas for carrier pieces for Creative Commons license so we were built for that but as a result to whatever extent we could not saying we change overnight we were able to have a discernible impact on how people
see any gage and grass and cover and publish anything about this
conflict that we thought was worth paying attention to now this is the most common uncomfortable part of my presentation because I have the lecture you have people said nice things about us and that makes you along comfortable but I think it's important because we really thought we were going to labor in obscurity I was pretty sure of is the and I was told I was basically taking on a career killer by putting aside a really valuable job in television to build a website I think that was my mother talking actually you left television to build a website yes that is what I did so that's actually when we launched the thing that people think the bond ghost like what I have and are industry again really didn't get it so the fact that when people came around it started saying really nice things on 1 hand it doesn't matter on the other hand was really instructive and I think just gave us a lot more courage to bet on ourselves the next time around even if they don't say nice things the and so nice things thank you time by saying this nice thanks FastCompany nice things about these matters because when it did come time for that national debate over whether strive to really opera picture of msnbc and others put it out there so I got to give you gave me so
but isn't illustrated because when it came time to have a national debate we were able to serve as a resource they were able to wheel was out which relate and put it out there in the public domain to feed it whatever we have learned whatever data we had captured as a sort of institutional living memory of what happened in this conflict that now suddenly we all have to care about for 10 days yeah and then essentially the notion that technology can yes revolutionized
the way we explain something the way we engage something the fact that there wasn't enough real estate on television or even on page in the newspapers except for F 11 to talk about what's going on here we have infinite real estate I don't need to press that point here but I think it's really the driver of filling in the blanks so that became a calling card we cover what's missing we cover what matters and were not allowed to do this is to change anything except accessibility of information so with that of command
in all these nice things people said thank thank you but the interesting thing was how many news outlets ended up picking up a coverage which the to the point of being able to have helped people engage in this kind of information and that was the greatest point of impact as far as we're concerned and set S secondary stage on carried it will handle hang out with us we wrote in The New York Times and we basically have 38 units of conversation on you to you before he went off to Geneva to negotiate the now somewhat wayward new uh chemical
weapons disarmament deal with Russia was a 38 minutes of State Department time and that was really valuable we again we're able to crack open the egg shell of of an interview that would have otherwise had this much less than 38 it on even cable television so the way we see the world now is through the lens of complex issues because as soon as we launch Serie deeply literally that day people came to us asking can you do Congo deeply and Catalunya deeply and Nigeria deeply etc. etc. so we started grouping them up I see them as feces level issues what are the issues that affect us as a species better frankly already difficult to capture in a single story single 800 word article but are even more difficult to cover when all topics are dropping off the edge of the news desk because we don't have the money to cover so we group them into Geographics comedy
linear moderately Pakistani please I personally feel that conflict those and states in transition need extra attention they consistent coverage so a page is actually a good way to go strategic issues like poverty deeply nuclear disarmament deeply and science technology and public health and that's a big but but we need a book about it but the same people talk was about everything from oceans deviate Alzheimer's deeply and we just announced that the next 1 we're doing and we're we're doing this slowly so that we get it right and don't rush slow start up is what we're doing I the is that the object flee because the Arctic is an issue that friends of ours who are experts in the issue came to us said it has all the same problems as serious it's not getting coverage it's extremely consequential and no 1 really comprehend what's going on
so the idea for us we built a 2 by 2 matrix of course and on 1 axis was the need for information and on the other axis was the opportunity for impact and put in the presentation I will next year products so we looked at issues of a chartered out issues and without even more granular on what those 2 things mean but we looked for issues that have a high need for information and a high opportunity for impact and I felt that article was 1
of them and it's a really critical time interval whether for global warming and we thought that it would be the 1 to take on I Q so
few so the goal here at the 10 and so for every deeply you're building a teach deeply so we had a lot of social studies teachers in America tell us that they're using Syria deeply in the classroom to teach their students at grade 7 8 9 10 11 12 what's going on what's going on Syria and will be presented to the National Association of social studies teachers they said can you please do teach
Afghanistan next because we have a lot of students whose parents are deployed in Afghanistan and we can't explain why because when the news fills the public the teachers can teach the students so we actually had to step in and try to have have that as well so it's very easy it's easy happen because right now every teacher that in the US who wants to teach their students what's up which really constructed on their own and there are a lot of services and there there's accessibility but money and the being the barrier as there are 2 types of schools schools with my in without and schools with money have access to the world in the schools without any doubt so if you you know a lot of services of producing this kind of stuff the charging teachers 200 dollars a lesson plan around
such as such topic and that's fine if you're building a business model it's not fine if you're optimizing for the number of teachers who put this in front of the number of students so i think for frankly media in a way has an optimization problem content maybe has an optimization problem and that's when you have to pause and ask yourself why you're doing what you're doing and if standing in front of a TV camera is achieving not worth building something new is a better way forward so that is how we're keeping our commitment to the story we spent 18 months as a starter but not to scale and because I care about syria we get so much pressure so early to all the gosh of like like like this you could grow in this way we could revolutionize his with that I don't
care I care about getting it right on Syria and I know that when we get it right on Syria we will we will be able to scale it much more sustainably to everything else grows faster seems to be this year to start up like default but it wouldn't work for us so I really had to slow down the training and now like I structured coffee actually that helped by but yet do everything possible to to stay true to what we were building the 1st place so that our story but it's not Oslo we were approached by Columbia
University to study this phenomenon that we became harder so at the Town Center for Digital Journalism we've been fellows studying in specific this single subject use model and again it's not just us you have incredible people who came before us everyone from political clearly grew up
to be very big to Tehran to architects to crimewatch homicide watch they do all of the crime tracking in the city of Washington DC so what we found is that we are part of this broader trend toward hyper topical publishing vertical news as a whole
and especially salient were part of this phenomenon of journalists becoming entrepreneurs maybe because the media industry is doing R&D your product development the way other industries you it's become a fascinating states for
that reason alone you see a lot of incumbents learning from the start ups that of publishing vertically so yes politico but now other news outlets really taking a 2nd look at how they published articles and how they do or don't invest in the story page and that's part of
the impact here but it's also led people like me to speak in front of people like you because as journalist become entrepreneurs they face a very daunting challenge of using newsroom skills with started skills maintaining everything we need to maintain for editorial credibility and quality of content with the lean start-up methodology the capacity to manage the capacity to project managed because the the self manage these things are not inherent to
being a journalist were actually kind of a basket case culture I think it would really be disciplined to put those 2 together but there are a lot of us and like the teachers were all kind of labeling alone so the Columbia study was a lot about learning the best practices of what journalists at doing in this space the start of the newsroom is
often hybrid topical because a journalist will break away to start something in the domain they know best that's why deeply started Syria deeply et cetera et cetera I'd really encourage you to watch this to read out to see if you have a passion point if somebody's publishing around the
partial point because people probably you're new 1st place to go in the morning but separately and independently you know I
hope I hope this is something that inspires the way of rethink around the user experience of what you think you know How can change how could it be better where you optimizing for and how you design for what you're optimising for even if your industry it's a that's thank you
a few months of the year long questions we will use low so all the questions
your child's OK so thank Europe level in something like this a deeply or
privacy deeply we've thought about privacy deeply it again it's not
something I know it's not my name so it usually happens and it should probably have more systematically that people who know it best don't have a lot of in a lot of cases people who know something well I feel like it's missing from the news cycle just fill it themselves In other cases but they come to us and say listen up expert in x let's make it make us make up happened apropos to our last speaker we were
approached about robotics is robotics and AI and moving back further faster than our conversation about basically so it's been undermined it has
been our main so it has an expected just yet
and so it seems and much so I I think it's a great project it's really amazing which is filled up and I I
totally appreciate it I think we need more people like you it's it's really inspiring what to say just from a business point of view know
I'm wondering how do you plan on financing this or I you already earning money was what gets basically that's a problem that people are not willing to pay for that rain so as something about your ideas on what we're we're revenue positive revenue positive our 1st year as
and we revenue positive largely because people love our designed and then think tanks and institutions and universities asked us to build things for them based on our design so we are alternate revenue stream was around a certain tech and design-driven consulting so we build other people's systems for convening people around a single issue so that's how we kept the lights on and that is our business
model to begin with because it was 0 I think we could see initially single-subject models in this part of our people we've proved we publish the Flamary results if you search for the single subject of news just a steel subject years and Columbia are preliminary report will come up and were published a lot of 1 later this year and
what we found is that publishers who go deep on a single topic have more than a few revenue uh revenue streams available them and right now it's been done ad-hoc this is why we published a report because every starter is you know that in the range from 1 guy was obsessed with something and doing it on the side of the job to a team I gotta we have 6 people dedicated to maintain this sign everyone is reaching for the revenue that is closest within reach for some people it's alive events for others it's a membership and member services to here that technology is often not subscription because 4 as a starter they don't want a lot themselves off very few of them instituted paywalls over time but some of the North Korean news did a few others right but there are a lot of OK so those are the kinds of things to do in life events I actually have a full list of humble that but I'll tell you what they're not they're not doing traditional have because they have
found it more worthwhile to obviously not to monetize
traffic but to monetize engagement so not to monetize content but to monetize community and what you offer to that community and that's part of a bigger trend within the news world and that's noticeable within the industry numbers that the Pew Center just published in the state of the media report stated in his
report with a call alternative revenue for audience revenue as opposed to advertising revenue to everything you can derive frankly from providing a service to the audience thank you so whether he's alive
events for a stream of monthly conference calls that interesting that people subscribe to and the part of it whenever it gets very creative to everything from foundation grants not surprising events
crowdfunding merchandising North Korean use their whole deck of cards around like Kim Jong Il or something you know but it worked but our and revenues to external projects like we're doing that usually these model we borrow their business model they were really partners we have external project team and that once the house
projects that you incubate have subscriptions and premium models and then markets and job words there's an education you site called shopping to in the United States that down there such a strong talents a demand for teachers that if they put a job or next to their education you cite they were able to make significant revenue from so it's really audience driving it does require some R&D but there's more hope in that space and there's more revenue for quality content then I think we ever really realized I think it was low think
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