David Cohn: Circa's mobile approach: The structure and form of news re-thought

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David Cohn

Director of News, Circa; 2010-2011 Reynolds Fellow, Reynolds Journalism Institute

David Cohn is the director of news for Circa, a mobile-first newsroom and pioneer of the "follow" feature for news arcs. Previously, he founded the first platform to crowdfund for independent reporting projects and was a pioneer in crowdsourced journalism.

Cohn has written for numerous publications including Wired and The New York Times. He is a board member of the Online News Association. He holds a master’s degree in new media from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Published in: News & Politics, Education, Sports
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David Cohn: Circa's mobile approach: The structure and form of news re-thought

  1. 1. Follow the news NovemberConfidential
  2. 2. How we consume news c. 1605-2008 c. Today e.g. gap time while in line for coffee, waiting at a subway stop, etc.
  3. 3. Current news apps take an existing format and force it into a smaller screen where readers also have a dramatically shorter attention span New York Times iPhone App
  4. 4. Traditional articles are too verbose for mobile Problem: Articles take entirely too long to read on smartphones Solution: Break down news into its atomic elements: facts, stats, quotes, media, etc. Penn State loses one sponsor, others could follow
 
 STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — State Farm is pulling its ads from Penn State football broadcasts, while General Motors is reconsidering its sponsorship deal and Wall Street is threatening to downgrade the school's credit rating, suggesting the price of the sexual abuse scandal could go well beyond the $60 million fine and other penalties imposed by the NCAA. Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm said it had been reviewing its connection to Penn State since the arrest of retired assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky last November. The insurance company said it will pull ads from broadcasts of Nittany Lions home games but continue to advertise during Penn State's away contests. "We will not directly support Penn State football this year," State Farm spokesman Dave Phillips said Tuesday. "We just feel it was the best decision."
 
 State Farm had no immediate information on how much money is at stake.
 
 The NCAA imposed unprecedented sanctions against Penn State on Monday, including the fine, a four-year bowl ban and a sharp reduction in the number of football scholarships it may offer. The governing body also erased 14 years of victories, wiping out 111 of coach Joe Paterno's wins and stripping him of his standing as the most successful coach in the history of big-time college football. NCAA President Mark Emmert said he relied on a report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who found that Paterno and three top officials concealed child sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky more than a decade ago to protect the school and its powerful football program. With Penn State's once-sterling reputation in tatters, the university could face an exodus of sponsors unwilling to have their brands linked to scandal, said Kevin Adler, founder of Chicago-based Engage Marketing Inc. Adler said he would advise current sponsors to pull out of their deals with Penn State, adding that most contracts have morality clauses giving advertisers an out. "I think the public perception is pretty clear and definitive at this point. That brand is damaged beyond the point of short-term repair. It is the sponsorship partner's obligation first and foremost to look after the health of their own brand," Adler said. "None of the sponsors owe Penn State anything." Penn State loses one sponsor, others could follow
 
 STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — State Farm is pulling its ads from Penn State football broadcasts, while General Motors is reconsidering its sponsorship deal and Wall Street is threatening to downgrade the school's credit rating, suggesting the price of the sexual abuse scandal could go well beyond the $60 million fine and other penalties imposed by the NCAA. Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm said it had been reviewing its connection to Penn State since the arrest of retired assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky last November. The insurance company said it will pull ads from broadcasts of Nittany Lions home games but continue to advertise during Penn State's away contests. "We will not directly support Penn State football this year," State Farm spokesman Dave Phillips said Tuesday. "We just feel it was the best decision."
 
 State Farm had no immediate information on how much money is at stake.
 
 The NCAA imposed unprecedented sanctions against Penn State on Monday, including the fine, a four-year bowl ban and a sharp reduction in the number of football scholarships it may offer. The governing body also erased 14 years of victories, wiping out 111 of coach Joe Paterno's wins and stripping him of his standing as the most successful coach in the history of big-time college football. NCAA President Mark Emmert said he relied on a report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who found that Paterno and three top officials concealed child sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky more than a decade ago to protect the school and its powerful football program. With Penn State's once-sterling reputation in tatters, the university could face an exodus of sponsors unwilling to have their brands linked to scandal, said Kevin Adler, founder of Chicago-based Engage Marketing Inc. Adler said he would advise current sponsors to pull out of their deals with Penn State, adding that most contracts have morality clauses giving advertisers an out. "I think the public perception is pretty clear and definitive at this point. That brand is damaged beyond the point of short-term repair. It is the sponsorship partner's obligation first and foremost to look after the health of their own brand," Adler said. "None of the sponsors owe Penn State anything."
  5. 5. Social Networking Photo Sharing News Before Mobile ! Complex Time wasting Mobile -First ! Simplified Time Sensitive Optimized The best mobile experiences are native
  6. 6. News, written & designed for mobile Instead of articles, Circa collects the facts, stats, quotes, and other media (photos, videos,etc), without added fluff. We call these stories. Stories broken down into “points” that are navigated by swiping up and down, physically similar to going through a stack of flash cards. Points often contain rich media that helps tell the story even better.
  7. 7. Follow news, for the first time ever Articles are an inefficient way to tell stories over time. Rather than writing new articles each time new details of a story emerges, Circa’s editors add a point or more to an existing story. Readers are able to follow a storyline and get push notifications as the news continues to evolve. Tapping on an updated storyline brings the reader right to the new information
  8. 8. At Circa, we atomize not summarize Atomization: To break down a story into its core elements – the facts, stats, quotes, media, etc. Summarization: To create a smaller version of an existing piece, cutting content to make for a quicker read
  9. 9. Following is sticky After readers start following breaking news events, their usage patterns drive massive traffic spikes with each development Overall engagement also increases after discovering this utility April 15, 2013 April 19, 2013April 17, 2013April 17, 2013 April 18, 2013 Sessions Traffic spikes, corresponding with each major update during week of Boston tragedy
  10. 10. We’ve created the most efficient news process, ever. By updating news stories as they evolve over time, Circa eliminates the need to constantly repeat background information — a massive inefficiency in news This has allowed Circa to scale content almost exponentially over time without adding equal resources Nov 1, 2012Dec 20, 2012Jan 31, 2013Mar 15, 2013Apr 29, 2013Jun 10, 2013Jul 22, 2013 Sep 3, 2013 Circa’s content production over time Storyline updates New storylines

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