Josh Kalven is the founder of Newsbound, a San-Francisco–based company that chews up and partially digests complicated news stories and, like a mother bird feeding her young, regurgitates them in a smooth, nutritious format. Kalven predicts the imminent death of articles as the primary news delivery system. Instead, he offers slide-based “stacks,” that offer entertaining, linear, narrative-based explanations for ongoing events of the day.
Newsbound emphasizes the backstory of each issue, aiming to explain and clarify often confusing and fast-paced news narratives for its readers. The organization has broken down such labyrinths as Super PACs, Senate filibusters, and the controversy surrounding weaponized drones.
Newsbound first unveiled its slide-based stack format in September 2012, and it was such a hit that more than 50,000 unique visitors clicked or swiped their way through within the first three months. On average, the stacks equal an eight-minute reading experience.
“Along the way, we gradually improved and augmented the experience and were thrilled to see that 60 percent of users who started one of our pieces made it the end,” Kalven says. “As we continue to design and develop this reading experience, completion remains our most important metric.“
In 2013, Newsbound is working to introduce its unique style of explanation and storytelling into the digital media bloodstream, looking to work with publishers, think tanks, and nonprofits interested in creating explanatory content in stack form.
Newsbound will be publishing a mix of original and client-driven content over the course of the year, while improving the technology as they go. In the late summer, Kalven hopes to release a beta version of an authoring tool that will allow designers and writers to collaborate in stack format.
“The stack is more dynamic than an infographic, but less labor-intensive than a motion graphics video,” Kalven says.
Have you ever watched the evening news or read a newspaper and wondered, what the hell are they talking about? If you answered yes to this question, comment to let Kalven know which topics you find absolutely confounding. You may just see it pop up on Newsbound this year.
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