Media brands have become cross-platform experiences that encompass print, digital, live events, and more. But that evolution is far from over. The most successful of these brands embrace technology’s rapid pace of change and the new opportunities it presents. Quartz co-president and editor-in-chief Kevin Delaney advises publishers to view technology as a vehicle to push the boundaries of their content and find new ways to serve their readers. “Publishers need to be open to the possibility that formats beyond the traditional 800-word article will best resonate with readers, and approach such formats with enthusiasm and deep journalistic creativity,” says Delaney.
Delaney will speak on media’s transformation and Quartz’s evolving content strategy at the Yale Publishing Course in New Haven, Connecticut. The Yale Publishing Course will be held July 27-29 and will provide mid-level publishing professionals with the insights they need to adapt and thrive in a changing industry. The last day to register for YPC is July 1st.
In the following interview Delaney previews some of what he plans to discuss at YPC, including how Quartz is experimenting with new media platforms, particularly mobile and television.
How does Quartz create content for a variety of digital platforms?
We’ve primarily focused on having a single brand for all of our activities, which span our website to an iPhone app to live events to video and a daily email newsletter. We want to be wherever our readers are, which effectively means that Quartz’s content lives in many places. But they’re united by our Quartz brand.
One priority for us is to aggressively experiment with how to publish to mobile devices in ways that resonate with readers. Our iPhone app, which uses a chat interface, is one approach to doing this. Several very experienced Quartz journalists write the content for it every day. Publishers need to be open to the possibility that formats beyond the traditional 800-word article will best resonate with readers, and approach such formats with enthusiasm and deep journalistic creativity.
How is engaging an audience online different from engaging in print?
We can see the topics and formats that readers are engaging with, which allows us to constantly refine what we cover and how we cover it to better serve out readers. Our journalists can use storytelling tools that are mostly unavailable in print, including data visualization and charts that are interspersed within the text as they write it, video, audio, and what are essentially computer programs that run within an article to help explain things.
How does Quartz approach online native advertising?
Our goal is that sponsor content be as high quality as the editorial content around it, for the sake of the reader. A TV producer wouldn’t require that the TV commercials interspersed in his programming were less entertaining to a viewer than the program itself — yet that’s how some publishers have approached native advertising.
Publishers should avoid tricking the reader into believing that content is editorial when it’s in fact advertising — this can be addressed with explicit labeling. And journalists who produce editorial content shouldn’t be involved in any way in the production of native advertising.
What do you hope attendees take away from your YPC session?
There’s an opportunity to think about how to best deliver journalism on mobile phones and TV sets that news organizations are just beginning to think about — it requires journalist creativity and boldness, and a concern for how to best serve your readers. Now is the moment.
Ellen Harvey is a freelance writer and editor who covers the latest technologies and strategies reshaping the publishing landscape. She previously served as the Senior Editor at Publishing Executive and Book Business.