Understanding The Globe

Reimagining the narrative of journalism

The Globe has a clear and ambitious mission, one that all consulted parties agree the world is in dire need of. Better still, after a preliminary market research, some participants have experienced situations in which they actively sought our solution, but simply couldn’t find one, because we don’t exist… yet.

Our mission? We will become your personalised hub of global news and topic centred knowledge.

THE INITIAL PROBLEM (INFORMING)

It was during our academic thesis years that we concluded that the current news media is seriously lacking when it comes to telling a story from a slightly different angle other than: “Badies come, stuff goes down south, darn, bastards, the end.” This was more or less his experience with the way Time Magazine dealt with the Crimea Crisis. Sure, there was a hint of Khrushchev’s handing over Crimea to Ukraine in 1954, and perhaps a sprinkle of the Russian Ottoman wars which led to Crimea’s annexation in 1783. But if mentioned at all, it didn’t really seem important. History it might be, but it would give a context to the conflict that is necessary to better understand Russia’s motivation.

It was worse when Russia actively put boots on the ground. It became a chaotic mess of news that was in desperate need of context, but none was given. Who was who? Who were those Ukrainian fascists Russia kept talking about? What about the Russian NGO’s that Ukraine complained about? Who fled to where, and who controls what? The only decent way to make any kind of sense of this mess of news reporting, was to keep a diagram of the situation. Something we assume very interested parties indeed did. However, traditional media opted to report the news simplistically and in monochrome, leaving out quite a few important details. News was made to consume, and not any longer to inform.

News Media also loved to cite and quote, but none of the consulted journals had the documents available even though they are in most instances freely publishable. (for example, you can download here the Memorandum on Security Assurances). Digitalisation allows to give that background, include sources and make information available to their users.

Our initial problem is:

  • Topics are over simplified, and made for consumption.
  • There is no background information given except some light recap.
  • News is often coloured, but presented as neutral.
  • There is no overview of events, only a series of news articles.
  • Events like Crimea, Ebola, ISIS, The Arab Spring, can easily become muddled and unclear.
  • The current platform of traditional news media does not leave any space for topic centred additional information.

THE FOLLOW UP (CONNECTING)

We ran into a second problem: the immense wealth of information that was not being used. Students at universities will have to deal with websites like Sciencedirect, Taylor and Francisc, Sprinkler, JSTOR and many others. These students will also know how much knowledge is stored in these databases, ready to be read, inform and teach. However, besides students, researchers, professors, or think tanks, very few people read these articles, which is a shame.

And not just academic articles: there is a whole library out there of treaties, laws, statistics, reviews that help users to appreciate and understand the news they are reading. Using the earlier example, news readers of time magazine might assume that there was a treaty specifically designed for Russia to recognise Ukraine’s sovereignty over Crimea. But that was not what the treaty was about. An academic article of an expert in international law might further clarify the legal angle in this conflict. If you don’t know where to find these documents, it is very hard to get them.

Thus, our second problem (and related to the first problem) is that:

  • There is a treasure of well-written, well-researched articles out there waiting to be read.
  • Different perspectives or views on a problem that might help people understand the complexity of a problem.
  • There are conferences, readings, and other events that deal with certain subjects, but are only accessible to those who are at home in that environment, but might be very interesting to other people as well.
  • There is so much activity, but so little connectivity.

THE OPPORTUNITY (OWNERSHIP)

And finally, our third problem is seldom users can interact with the news.

Here we can’t talk about how current news media seems to do a bad job at letting users interact with the news, simply because they hardly do the job at all. And this is a shame, because often the news grips people, they are personally invested in stories, and wish to organise, share, vote and subscribe to the stories. There is a need to take part in the news, make it their own. This is something that The Globe recognises and will include. Our users will be able to:

  • Do amazing things with The Globe. Our platform will become your cockpit of knowledge. We will supply you with the news, with knowledge, and you create your own web of data and information.
  • Other users will be able to interact with you, regarding this information.
  • How we will do this, is something you will find out when The Globe launches.
  • And if you are interested in our launch, head over to our community page.
  • And so much more…

In conclusion

The Globe is not a one trick pony, neither is it a news gimmick, or a new commercial twist to a traditional formula. News can be presented differently (Quartz), sold differently (Blendle), or be differently targeted (buzzfeed). However, we wish to go deeper and enlarge the scope of the primary goal of the news: To Inform. We will use digitalisation to reimagine the way news is presented to make it clearer, more complete and easier to understand (to inform) but also to allow users to find out more about the topic (to connect) and finally to get users to interact with the news (to take ownership).

We will include multiple parties in the creation of The Globe, and to each party has its own role to play.