Quartz: Using Data, Science and Innovation in the Age of Digital Journalism

London-based reporter Cassie Werber writes about the evolution of human relationships, and the news outlet Quartz provides the perfect platform for such reporting. Through a small group of journalists based in New York, London, India, and Africa, Quartz reaches an audience of 20 million individual visitors a month, 16% of whom via mobile phone.

Previously an energy reporter at The Wall Street Journal in London, and an online editor at Financial News, Werber describes Quartz as “a guide to the new global economy,” aimed at the global business audience.

As such, Quartz reaches its readers in a variety of engaging ways – from daily briefs to regional newsletters, from innovative apps to a podcast. Currently, there are 300 000 subscribers to the Quartz daily brief. The US-based readers comprise 50% of Quartz’s audience and the remaining half of readers come from different areas worldwide. In addition, the magazine offers Africa- and India-focused newsletters, and is aiming to increase its non-US readership, as Werber anticipates.

The Quartz interactive app was launched in February 2016, offers to readers an interactive way to learn about the latest business news and trends. According to Werber, “the app is not a robot, it is a team of people” and its “conversational tone, having journalists intimately interested in the content and writing specifically for the form” makes the app one of a kind. Quartz journalists write content specifically for the phone and, according to Werber, this tone “is what people seemed to have responded best to.” She added that the app would not be successful if it wasn’t for the sense of human interaction.

In addition, Quartz developed its own open software chart-building tool called “Atlas” which can be used for data visualization. Anyone wishing to visualize their data can simply copy the data from an Excel document into the “Input Data” field and select the type of chart they want to create: Atlas will then generate a unique chart.

Finally, the platform has just launched Quartz Bot Studio – a new project sponsored by the Knight Foundation. The Bot Studio aims to develop new applications of bots (i.e. software you can talk to, either through text input or voice) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). According to Quartz blog, the studio intends “to build automated tools for journalists and applications for voice and messaging interfaces.” Werber believes this is one of the ways to make the job of journalists easier in the future.