In an ongoing effort to keep up with emerging technology and platforms, I often reach out to different people to find out what their technology and services can do for consumers, brands and communications professionals. Being a former (not sure you can ever be former) journalist, I like to interview people about topics I am interested in. As one of the people who launched CNN.com, I am at heart, a news junkie, a geek and a technophile. That said, I wanted to learn a bit more about the news service called Circa, an app I recently downloaded to my phone, so I reached out to CEO Matt Galligan to find out more.
Q: What is Circa and how was it conceived?
A: Circa (just Circa, not cir.ca as that's just our domain) is a mobile-native news company that makes staying in touch with the news much easier. We boil the big headlines of the day down into just a few points, making sure to preserve every major detail and allowing everything to be a quick read. But the magic is in the ability to follow storylines you might care about, after which you'll get notified of each individual change and update as they happen. The beauty of this is that you never have to re-read a bunch of information you've already seen before and instead cut right to what's new.
Q: Where do you consume your news?
A: I personally consume news in a couple of places – Circa (obviously) for most headline news, The Economist for world news, Techmeme for technology news, and Prismatic for random topics I like to keep up with.
Q: There is a lot of chatter about the future of newsgathering and reader/viewership. The recent purchase of The Washington Post by Jeff Bezos is at best, controversial to purist journalists. What do you see for the future of newsgathering and editorial neutrality?
A: News gathering will become more niche in my opinion. Because of the commoditization of news, the moment a fact is in the public, anyone can grab it and cover it. As such, newsgathering may fall on fewer professional shoulders, and may happen more with contract journalists or citizen journalists. I don't really see problems with editorial neutrality as it relates to Bezos picking up the Washington Post, as I doubt it's his interest area to micromanage the newsroom. Instead, he'll likely focus on fixing inefficiencies and building a bigger and better business.
Q: There is also a lot of chatter about "Brand Journalism". What is your opinion on brand as media entity and do they have relevance in news gathering? Will we see a sound bite on CNN from Goodyear about the top ten travel destinations in the US anytime soon?
A: "Brand journalism" or "content marketing" as I like to call it will definitely be a big growth area for content going forward. It's certainly possible that as brands develop their content strategies that a larger news organization might reference their content, because why not? We're also seeing a great opportunity for brands to keep a tighter control on their messaging. When Tesla was put under the bus by the New York Times, instead of taking their message to a competing news organization, they simply put a blog post out on their own site. We'll see a lot more of that in the coming years.
Q: If a brand could produce impartial content about a topic in their beat, how would it be best fed out to news outlets and to your team for consideration?
A: Leveraging social is a great way for brands to get their messages out. If the content is authentic and engaging, it will likely work its way out to the public and surface to people that are making editorial decisions.
Q: Lastly, I talk a lot about a brand’s need to show some personality and be human, approachable. So, in that vein, if you were a beer, what type of beer would you be and why?
A: I have a lot of passion for craft beer. It's nearly impossible for me to crown a "favorite" type of beer as my tastes range depending on my mood, the season, and many other factors. But if I were to pick a favorite for myself right now it would be big, fruit-forward India Pale Ales such as Deschutes' Fresh Squeezed IPA. I like them because they pack a punch of flavor with a nice sweetness to come with it.
What do you think is the future of news? Tell us in the comments below, or tweet your responses using the hashtag #mcgblog.