I was part of a Discovery Channel series called “How We Invented The World’
Here’s a clip…
I was part of a Discovery Channel series called “How We Invented The World’
Here’s a clip…
There’s two schools of thought when it comes to publishing news.
There’s the traditional approach, where you take your time and make sure you have multiple named sources you’re personally and directly in contact with. That is, in my mind, the best possible way to ensure you’re getting your facts straight.
The second school relies on several factors:
We see a lot more of the second school these days than the personally acquired source and that leads to less reliable reporting. Worse yet, there’s often no accountability or a documentation how the story evolved over time as better sources emerged.
The traditional method of reporting has become less common as new media outlets rely on aggregation of sources. Even traditional reporting relies on a combination of both personally acquired sources and a mix of aggregated reports.
What’s usually lacking from either of these methods is a way for the reporter to provide to the reader the ability to understand how the story evolved. An “Editor’s Note” that appears at the top or bottom of the post seems insufficient. Something like NewsDiffs can be useful but doesn’t plug directly into the existing website (if it could, that might be a good solution.)
What would be ideal is a way for the reader to turn on the corrections/changes made by clicking a link at the top of the post that turns the post into a “track changes” mode, which shows the updates made over time. You might even allow the reader to see what the story looked like on a particular day. In addition, it would be useful to simply give the reader the ability to follow the story and be alerted each time it gets changed or corrected. We did exactly that with Circa, but it would be even better to see it built into existing media properties.
This transparency builds greater trust between the reader and the publisher. It also reclaims something that is becoming lost when readers are led to many places through social media rather than relying on a single publication: loyalty. If I am given the ability to track a story over time and understand I’ll be told if something changes or is corrected, I’m more likely to go back to that same source which I’ve subscribed to.
It’s no longer sufficient to think you can change a story and think nobody will notice, you might as well be upfront with readers as the story evolves and allow them to stay connected to those changes as they happen. The alternative is hope nobody will notice only to have others explain how you’ve made those changes and tried to act like nothing happened, which serves to do nothing but erode credibility and trust in the publication.
Here’s the short Circa version: We tried to do something very different, we took huge risks, we built a product that spawned a whole new category, and we enjoyed every moment of it, at least until the money ran out and that sucked.
Care to know more? By all means, read on:
We got some stuff wrong, but there’s a hell of a lot we got right. There will be a time and place for me to expand on that, today is not that day. I’m delighted to see we’ve inspired many other apps to do part of what we did or attempt to. It’s great that we’ll see various elements of Circa live on through them.
I want to thank this team:
Arsenio, I am so lucky to have worked with you and have someone so willing to work hand and glove with editorial. That’s a rare thing in our business. You’re a rockstar, I hope we cross paths again. I also loved the chance to work with your amazing team: Tim, Travis, Chris, Michelle, Ashley, AJ, Brian, Darren, Adam, and Frank.
John Maloney, you know how much you did for this team. You are selfless. Without question, you have been a rock and fought the good fight to try to get us over the finish line. I’ll never forget that. I am your brother for life.
Matt, you gave me an amazing opportunity and you’re an incredible product designer. The industry is still trying to catch up with you. I know you’ll continue to do amazing things.
David, our founding editor, who mentored me and taught me the very unique way we do things here at Circa. Without you, I would be nothing. You’re killing it at Al-Jazeera. I am indebted to you for teaching me and giving me the skills to have continued what you created here.
Adrian, Daniel, Greg, Evan, Andrew, Ted, Chad, Lenika, Nicholas, Peter, Abraham, Amelie, Alli, Nallur, Kevin, and Lisa. Who fought their asses off and have unique skills that few others in our industry can boast of. They’re now free to take those skills out to the world and give your newsroom superpowers. Startups are hard, they’re not the safe passage for anyone. News is tough enough to then have the unpredictability of startup life tossed in for good measure. I respect and admire these folks for putting their heart and soul into this.
Christine, our incredible designer. Your work speaks for itself. Someone will be very lucky to have you bringing your magic to them soon.
Jessie, our operations rock. Without you, the ship doesn’t sail. Thanks for keeping us on track and making sure the trains run on time.
Finally, I want to thank the majority of our investors, who believed in us enough to write a check. There are some investors making it difficult to get our team paid for services rendered. Be assured I won’t stand by idle if they’re not made whole.
I can vouch for all the people above, but I worked as Editor In Chief and can uniquely speak for the skills of the team I led below. I’m providing short bios but can get into more detail about what I think their strongest skills are. Please do get in touch soon if you want them, there’s actually a lot of demand and I’m happy to see that. I also linked their emails to their names here if you want to reach them directly.
HIRED! Daniel Bentley – Senior editor at Circa (Hired by Fortune)
HIRED! Adrian Arizmendi – Tends to focus on political matters. Has a great grasp on policy and the intricacies of legislature. Would be a great fit on a team covering congress and/or the 2016 race. Based in San Francisco. (Hired by Al-Jazeera)
HIRED! Evan Buxbaum – Deputy editor, helped lead our team during PT hours and also ran weekends. Good manager, can lead a team of multiple people and has an excellent eye for detail. Tireless. Based in Seattle. (Hired by New York Post)
Andrew Bossone – Led our Middle East coverage and helped manage our team during the overnight hours. Excellent grasp of foreign policy, especially in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Based in Jordan. (Doing contract work but available for a full-time gig)
HIRED! Ted Trautman – Primary copy editor. Great eye for detail. Jack of all trades when it comes to subject matters. Great disposition, easy to work with. Based in San Francisco (Currently working on a book!)
HIRED! Chad Catacchio – Led our Asia coverage, especially Japan. Especially strong when it comes to science and sports. Based in Beijing now but soon returning to Massachusetts. (Hired by Enervee)
HIRED! Nicholas Deleon – Lead Tech Editor. Wide grasp of all matters related to technology, both on the business and product side. He managed to cover nearly all the important stories for us in this space by himself. Great disposition, very easy to work with. Based in New York. (Hired by VICE Motherboard)
Peter Wade – Jack of all trades subject matter wise. Helped relaunch our Tumblr and grew our audience there significantly in a short period of time. Staff writer, pitched in as the defacto Social Media Editor for Circa. Comfortable covering a variety of topics. He has written for and managed social media at numerous digital news publications including Fast Company, SportsNet New York and The Daily. He also maintains his own news, media and pop culture Tumblr at BrooklynMutt.com. Based in Washington D.C.
Abraham Hyatt – Has a great grasp on criminal justice matters. Also has a background covering tech and business. Based in San Francisco.
HIRED! Amelie Meyer- Robinson – Foreign policy focus, good grasp on Europe in particular. Based in San Francisco. (Hired by Twitter)
HIRED! Alli Maloney – Covers a wide variety of topics, high output, performs well under pressure. Well versed in women’s issues. Based in Ohio. (Hired by New York Times, Women in the World)
Kevin Ponniah and Lisa Yallamas – Based in London and Australia respectively. Staff writers, good grasp on Asia + Southeast Asia matters.
Had a great time talking to Amber Mac and Sarah Lane on TWiT
I had the honor and pleasure of moderating a panel with Anthony Bourdain and his amazing social media, production + film team at SXSW 2012
“Matching” — when one or more news organizations writes a story based on a news item that another outlet broke first — is an institutional problem deeply rooted within many mainstream newsrooms.
To paraphrase myself from this article, sometimes it’s a business strategy: Ignore your competition, don’t let your readers know they exist, pretend they didn’t beat you. Sometimes it’s cultural: The journalists come from a print background and didn’t grow up with the web like digital natives.Sometimes it’s technical: The CMS simply wasn’t created with links in mind (this sounds crazy but is actually true in some cases), or the system is built to serve multiple masters (print and digital), and the print side inexplicably wins out over the digital.
Often it’s a combination of one or more.
The practice of “matching” a story is an outdated one that still continues despite the fact we’re all now working with a medium that no longer requires it. If someone already reported the story, you’ve verified their story is correct, and you have nothing to move that story forward, write a brief and link to whom did the legwork already. By all means, let your readers know about the story, lead them to it. Be a beacon for all news, not just your own. Then, move on and produce something of more value.
Newsrooms are low on resource; apply those resources efficiently. Your 500-word re-write of the same article as your “competitor,” as you call them, is unnecessary and a total waste of time.
I’m not calling out anyone in particular — I’m calling out our entire industry that does this all day long and twice on Sunday. I’m begging you please, to stop. For your own good and for a public awash in duplicative information.
Reuters reporter John Shiffman reports that NSA leaker Edward Snowden went by an online alias “TheTrueHOOHA” at one time. I uncovered some interesting threads on ARS Technica message board where that handle posted the following:
It really concerns me how little this sort of corporate behavior bothers those outside of technology circles. Society really seems to have developed an unquestioning obedience towards spooky types.
I wonder, how well would envelopes that became transparent under magical federal candlelight have sold in 1750? 1800? 1850? 1900? 1950? Did we get to where we are today via a slippery slope that was entirely within our control to stop, or was it an relatively instantaneous sea change that sneaked in undetected because of pervasive government secrecy?
My list, in order (just like in the poll!) would be:
China, Korea, and australia might be swapped, though. They’re sort of nebulous.
On page 3 of that same thread, he posts:
Although I’m not a diplomat, I work for the Department of State. I actually signed up because of the opportunity for foreign travel, so I’m not bent out of shape at all. All of the inflexible terms in the OP were to establish some sort of ground rules for the hypothetical so it didn’t veer off into insanity.
That said, I’m surprised by the showing Australia made in the poll. I have to wonder if it’s really the paradise Arsians seem to think it is, but being that this is a nerds’ forum, I’m suprised ANYTHING beat out Japan. I also don’t see the allure of “Scandinavian” countries, but that’s simply because I don’t want to live in a country where warmth and comfort are only spoken of in bedtime stories.
China is definitely a good option career-wise, and I’ve already got a basic understanding of Mandarin and the culture, but it just doesn’t seem like as much “fun” as some of the other places. Who knows where the “needs of the service” will actually end up placing me, though.