News as an Algorithm

Highlighting a mesh13 media panel

With news in the palm of our hands, the way in which we consume and discover as well as the way in which the stories are told continue to change. Technology that embraces personalization, social networks, social graphs and high-quality content is providing opportunities for new models. The business for online news has not yet been fully stabilized, but it hasn’t stopped a growing number of startups from jumping on the digital bandwagon.

During this session, we’ll be talking to two startups that are changing the way we get our news as well as the news that we get.

Paul Quigley is co-founder of NewsWhip, the news site with a billion editors. The technology tracks all the news published by about 5,000 English-language sources–-about 60,000 news stories each day. So how can you find the best quality and the most compelling in 60,000 stories a day? Paul and his team thinks the answer lies with people. They think that people have an instinct for good stories, and that we know the news stories worth sharing with our friends. So NewsWhip built a technology that tracks all the news shared on Facebook and Twitter each day, to find the fastest spreading, most shared, highest quality stuff, and reveal it to the world. All in real time, in dozens of countries and niches. But for NewsWhip it is not just about the news as a story, this team is also working to monetize. NewsWhip’s revenues come from its popular professional tool, Spike, which gives newsrooms and content marketers detailed insights on what’s trending hour-by-hour in hundreds of cities, regions and countries—so that early trending stories can be uncovered quickly. Right now, Spike is giving useful insights to many digitally focused newsrooms including the BBC,, The Huffington Post, Mashable Buzzfeed, and RTÉ. Social Amplifier, which displays a news company’s most trending stories in real time, gives readers and journalists a live view of what the site’s users are sharing, making sites more engaging and sticky. NewsWhip also recently released an API, widgets and mobile apps.

Joining Paul is David Cohn, who has written for Wired, Seed, Columbia Journalism Review and The New York Times among other publications. Most recently he is the founding editor of Circa. With more and more people relying on their phones as their primary source of news, Circa’s editors aim to gather top stories to break them down to their essential points — facts, quotes, photos, and more, formatted specifically for the phone. Circa is creating the first born-on-mobile news experience, delivering it in a format native to mobile devices, with an experience intuitive to mobile users. In the organization’s words, Circa is news, re-imagined.

How will these startups and others change the way the story gets told and what we see first?

To learn more, here are the bios for Paul Quigley and David Cohn.

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