US digital news venture hits the web

2012-09-25 19:40

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Washington - A digital news venture from Atlantic Media launched on Monday, promising "bracingly creative and intelligent journalism" for reading on devices such as tablets and mobile phones.

The effort baptised Quartz "is a digitally native news outlet, born in 2012, for business people in the new global economy", the group said on its website, qz.com.

Editor in chief Kevin Delaney said the team of "digital journalists and developers" seeks to cover "core topics and knotty questions of seismic importance to business professionals, from the rise of digital payment systems to life in a world of extremely low interest rates to the growth and habits of the consumer class."

The website optimized for mobile phones and tablets launched with articles on "Facebook's plan to find its next billion users" and "Five ways a new age of cheap energy could shift the power balance on the planet."

In addition to its original stories, Quartz offered links to articles from other news organizations including The New York Times, Financial Times and Business Insider, for example.

Delaney said Quartz "is totally free, with no paywall to get in your way. We're ad-supported, thanks to our four launch sponsors."

He added that Quartz "is intended to embody the era in which we're creating it, like Wired in the 1990s, Rolling Stone in the 1960s, Fortune in the 1930s, and The Economist in the 1840s."

The New York-based project has correspondents and staff reporters in London, Paris, Taiwan, Los Angeles, and Washington, and plans "to expand quickly to other locations".

Bleak outlook

Analysts say the project has the potential to succeed, but that it won't be easy in the current media environment.

Ken Doctor, an analyst with the research firm Outsell, said that despite a bleak outlook for the news industry, new technologies are helping the economics of the industry.

"The barriers to entry have never been lower, in some ways, though this lesson is fitfully understood by most legacy newspaper and magazine publishers," Doctor said in a recent blog posting.

"Quartz aims to take advantage of this digital moment, and in its strategy and coming execution we'll see our evolving playbook of digital news success filled out."

Atlantic Media Company, which is known for the Atlantic Monthly, "has endeavoured to bring high-quality digital content to influential readers around the United States, and we are proud of our success," said company president Justin Smith.

"With Quartz, we are expanding our mission to serve the needs of an important new audience - business leaders who live and work around the world. Quartz's goal is to be the 24/7 digital guide to the new global business order, providing international business leaders with the information and analysis they need to succeed."

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