The Correspondent

An inclusive and ad-free movement for unbreaking news

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The Correspondent is an independent, inclusive, and ad-free movement for unbreaking news. We want to radically change what news is about, how it's made, and how it's paid for.

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Rob Wijnberg
Rob WijnbergMaker@robwijnberg · Founding editor The Correspondent
Hi Product Hunters, I’m Rob Wijnberg, founding editor of The Correspondent, a movement for unbreaking news. Thanks to @bramk for hunting this! We want to change what news is about, how it’s made, and how it’s funded. Although the headlines that are pushed to our screens all day are called ‘breaking news’, we think we should be calling it ‘broken news’. Because news mostly makes us cynical, divided, and less informed. It promises to tell you "what's going on in the world," but actually does the opposite: it constantly shows you sensational exceptions, but leaves you in the dark about the rule. It scares you with overexposed risks, but blinds you to systematic progress. It transfixes you with depressing problems, but almost never offers you any solutions. This way, the news constantly reinforces all kinds of myths. Not because the news is "fake" or because the media are waging "a conspiracy" to mislead us. No, the news misleads us because it pays more attention to the sensational, exceptional, negative, recent, and incidental, thereby losing sight of the ordinary, usual, positive, historical, and systematic. That's why we're quick to think that most terrorists are Muslims, even though that isn't true. That the world is only getting worse, even though that isn't true. That terrorist attacks pose a greater threat to our well-being than sugar, even though that isn't true. That the financial crisis started in 2008, even though that isn't true. At The Correspondent, we hope to change that by having a different definition of news, a different way of making news and a different way of paying for it. Our platform is based on 10 founding principles, of which the most important are: shifting the focus from the sensation to the foundational, collaborating with our knowledgable readers and no ads. And we’re proud to have the support of a group of over 80 ambassadors, including Nate Silver, Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), Esther Dyson, Om Malik and Jeff Atwood (Stack Overflow & Discourse). To dig deep into the everyday realities that actually shape our world on a more fundamental level, we use all the expertise of our members. Because we’re convinced that our readers are the biggest source of untapped knowledge that we—journalists—have at our disposal. That’s why our platform is designed to include our members in every facet of our journalistic research. So, this is a great place to ask feedback from knowledgeable ProductHunters as well: what would you do to change the news in something that is insightful and collaborative instead of distracting and divisive?
Taylor Majewski
Taylor Majewski@taylormajewski · Head of News and Social @ Product Hunt
Hi @robwijnberg — I'm super excited to see what's to come from The Correspondent. 1.) How will members be able to contribute their expertise/experience? What's the format and where will it be shared? 2.) In covering the tech news cycle over the past several years, I would change a lot about it. I think the cycle lends itself to traditional business journalism/executive shakeups — which is important — but technology is also reshaping the lives of many in insane, underreported ways. It'd be great to see a publication like The Correspondent report on this, especially with the experiences and input from its members.
Rob Wijnberg
Rob WijnbergMaker@robwijnberg · Founding editor The Correspondent
@taylormajewski How do members contribute at The Correspondent? Great question, Taylor! Thanks! First off: it all start with the fact that we don’t see our readers as a “target audience”, passively consuming our stories, so we can sell their attention to advertisers, but instead: we see our readers as the biggest untapped resource of knowledge and experience available to us, journalists. And we invite them to share that knowledge and experience by having correspondents spend at least 30 to 40 percent of their time interacting with members and readers — not as an “extra”, but as an integral part of her work. Correspondents actively seek out our members’ expertise to before, during, and after they write a story. Thy do this by keeping a public notebook of what they’re reporting on and updating members as a story unfolds. We call this ‘sharing your learning curve’, publishing not just finished stories, but also all questions, assumptions, sources, interviews etc along the way. Our contribution section (we don’t call it a comment section) is a place for the conversation between correspondents and members continue. Members contribute their expertise, along with their expertise titles, which are verified by our editors. Their contributions form the basis of new stories and updates. For example: our Education correspondent will ask teachers and students about their experiences in their classrooms, as will our Healthcare correspondent do with doctors, nurses and patients. By working together with readers, we’re better able to make good on our key promise: to be an antidote to the daily news grind. If you want to expose not just the incidents that make the news, but also the structures that give rise to them — to report not just what happened today, but also what happens every day — you need the help of the people who live those realities on a daily basis. Does this answer your question? Best! Rob (PS: on 2: noted!)
Taylor Majewski
Taylor Majewski@taylormajewski · Head of News and Social @ Product Hunt
@robwijnberg yeah! This is great. Super excited to watch what's to come — I became a member today :)
Rob Wijnberg
Rob WijnbergMaker@robwijnberg · Founding editor The Correspondent
@taylormajewski Thanks so much! Let's hope we make our goal of $2.5M! Spread the word! :)
Michael Gaffney
Michael Gaffney@mgaffneyny · Entrepreneur, Twin, Voyagr
@bramk @robwijnberg First I think you should edit this comment about your generalized notion regarding Muslims and terrorist attacks which is irrelevant. Second it sounds good that you want to address unbreaking news but the fault here is not just on media or published news. It is on the reader who is not spending time reading intellectual sources. Headlines and buzz news are the norm where convenience and shorter attention spans dominate users time. Also, some of the people you are featuring in promotion on your site as "journalists" are paid by what you are trying to change.
Ryan HooverPro@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
There's a wave of publications (and indie newsletters – something Substack is banking on) focused on subscription-based revenue model to combat some of the issues with ad-based model (clickbait, editorial conflict with advertisers, annoying UX, etc.). The Information has done a great job over the years. Medium has been experimenting with a premium subscription offering for a few years. Of course NYT is leading the charge with ~3M paying subscribers. But how how many subscriptions will consumers actually pay for? Curious to hear your thoughts about this, @robwijnberg.
Rob Wijnberg
Rob WijnbergMaker@robwijnberg · Founding editor The Correspondent
@rrhoover Good question, Ryan! I don't have the data at hand to back this up, but from experience I would say: most people don't subscribe to any news outlet at all, and after that most will have one, probably. I think it's a tiny group that has more than one. But: at The Correspondent, we actually make a difference between subscription and membership. In our view, subscribing is: paying money to get a product, and membership is: paying money to join a cause. We try to build a relationship with our readers based on the latter, because we see our readers not just as consumers of our stories, but as contributors of knowledge and experience to those stories as well. Because of this, we hope to get people to join our platform, even if they already have a subscription or two to other news outlets. Does this answer your question? Also, check out membershippuzzle.org for more on this, it's our research project at NYU specifically about these topics.
Jose Paul Martin
Jose Paul Martin@jpmartin · MD, EQORIS
@robwijnberg @rrhoover I've been closely studying and experimenting with the subscription/membership model (call it what you will). Think from a users pov and behavior. Reading habits means that you generally subscribe to a few feeds, not just one... if a person has to shell out say $5 per month to read 10 subscriptions... then it becomes an expensive reading behavior. Of course, they'll have to be selective, and information overload is the only reason why people would prefer curated, accurate information. But what's the assurance that you're getting is not biased? One day someone will come out with a Netflix/Spotify model, all you can eat newsletter subscription model for a single price - so you can try them out, because we dont' read the same thing every day. The challenge will be for the company to get other publishers/authors/writers on board. When Udemy first came on to the scene, I was really curious whether they could break the education market. But now with so many courses being sold at $10, people are questioning the quality of the content. You either do it yourself and hire a team, or you outsource to the crowd and piggyback of their work. I've watched medium.com closely - honestly, that's $132 million dollars for a glorified typewriter (to use someone else's words). Then medium.com stopped allowing for custom domains - which questions why a publication should rely upon a single domain to be the focal point of their business model.
Taurean Bryant
Taurean Bryant@_taurean · Design Generalist.
It would be great to see examples of content that we could expect, especially wrt to how members contribute and what that might mean. I would also love to see some way that access can be provided to those who wouldn't otherwise have access both in terms of being a reader and having a voice.
Rob Wijnberg
Rob WijnbergMaker@robwijnberg · Founding editor The Correspondent
@_taurean Hi Taurean, we deliberately are not showing sample articles, because just articles alone don't really show well how we do journalism (the important part is how we collaborate with our readers, see my answer here to Taylor's question). But wee did write about how we do our journalism and give examples there. For example here: https://medium.com/de-correspond... And here: https://medium.com/de-correspond... I think that will also give you a good sense of what our journalism is about! Best! Rob
Will Willems
Will Willems@rutierut · I am a work in progress.
I've been a subscriber of "De Correspondent" the dutch version of The Correspondent for over a year now and it has exceeded my expectations ten-fold. They occasionally publish stuff that is not 100% up my alley but over-all it's an amazing platform built on healthy principles with some publications that really blow my mind. This is great, I love it and you will too, probably.
Paul DeVos
Paul DeVos@paul_devos · Data Scientist
I am someone who doesn't get absorbed into the news. I find as religion and sports team allegiance has waned a lot in recent years the "politics as a religion" and "politics as a sport" have taken those places and become the new norm. There's no tradeoffs in sports team adherence or religion. It's ideology and devotion based through thick and thin..."for richer or poorer" if you will. Seeing Nate Silver and a few other knowingly bias news sources in the video doesn't do a lot of help for making this a "unbreak the news" source. I don't empathize nor identify with any political party. And coming from a statistical mindset, if writing anything via a political slant (opinion) vs reporting, I would desire having at least a representative employment of people from various political parties. And for those articles, per not reacting so quickly, would love to see co-authoring from that perspective. Written by Rep, Dem, & Libertarian. So they can fight the bull-sh*t in their own newsroom before spewing that "product" out on a public medium. I'd happily wait for this kind of content and re-consider the news stance as potentially offering something of value.