Media Moves

Q&A: What’s behind the launch of The Logic

July 6, 2018

Posted by Chris Roush

David Skok

David Skok is chief executive officer and editor in chief of The Logic, a Canadian website covering the innovation economy that launched last month.

Before founding The Logic, Skok was the associate editor and head of editorial strategy at The Toronto Star.

Previously, he served as the managing editor and vice-president of digital for the Boston Globe, where he led the organization’s digital transformation

The Logic has hired four reporters. They are:

  • Sean Craig, previously a business reporter at the Financial Post, where he covered the media industry and finance, and a national reporter at Global News;
  • Catherine McIntyre, a feature writer who worked for Maclean’s and Canadian Business prior to joining The Logic. She was named Best New Writer at the 2014 National Magazine Awards for her investigation into cancer clusters in New Brunswick industry towns; and
  • Zane Schwartz, an investigative journalist who was on staff at the National Post and Maclean’s before joining The Logic. Zane was the 2017 Michelle Lang Fellow in Journalism, where he built a searchable database of five million political donations, revealing the biggest donors in every province and territory for the first time in Canadian history.
  • Amanda Roth, the subscriber success manager, is a kickass reporter on the Sidewalk Labs beat. Her work has been cited twice already by The Financial Times.
Skok spoke this week by email with Talking Biz News about The Logic. What follows is an edited transcript.

How did you get the idea for The Logic?

I’ve long felt hamstrung by the restrictive nature of technology coverage in newsrooms. Tech journalism became more about cool new products and startup valuations than meaningful analysis of the impact of technology and innovation on our cognitive, economic and political lives. The growing techlash reinforced my belief that we need to cover these issues with serious journalism.

What did you see in Canadian business journalism that was missing?

We felt there was a gap in deep reporting on the innovation economy. This goes well beyond ‘business’ reporting and crosses many facets of tech, politics, life, etc.

How did you raise money to get it off the ground?

Fundraising through friends and family.

Why did you decide to make it a subscription model?

I’ve written previously about how I think we’re entering a thrilling new period in journalism that is focused on our readers, first. I’ve been doing journalism for a long time and wanted The Logic to only focus on non-commodotized reporting that really mattered. That was a natural fit with the subscription reader.

How much content do you expect to produce weekly, and what will you focus on?

For now, we are in beta, so we are only producing 2-3 stories per week along with a daily briefing newsletter where we curate the innovation news of the day.  We are focusing on Canadian innovation issues that include government policy, the venture capital space and Canadian tech companies, but also Big Tech and the impact it is having on our lives. Some of these stories are local, but many are relevant to the heated debates taking place in cities around the world.

You hired three full-time reporters to start. How did you select them?

Our reporters all play a very specific role on the team. We didn’t hire for jack-of-all-trade skill sets, but rather folks who could offer up unique expertise in data journalism, feature writing, and investigative work. We are truly the sum of our parts and I’m lucky to have such a terrific team who all share an entrepreneurial mindset.

How many subscribers/readers would you like to have in a year?

I won’t disclose the target but you’d be surprised how low the number is to profitability.

Are there any similar websites that you’ve looked at and borrowed ideas from?

The Information, The Athletic, Axios, The Financial Times — those are really our greatest influences.

Other than subscriptions, do you plan to generate revenue in other ways?

We will have events and are trying to build a real community around the ideas discussed in our work. Our goal is to have partners and sponsors come along with us. We can’t sell them on scale- nor do we want to- that would be bad for our user experience. But we can sell them on getting in front of the right audience.

Who do you see as your target audience in terms of readers/subscribers?

Anyone who cares about the future of Canada and the world. We’ve never really looked at demographics as an input. I was told a long time ago that the best news consumer is a university-educated 13-year-old.

Anything else that’s important that I didn’t ask about?

We often talk about the revenue challenges of media. If there’s one thing that’s already abundantly clear just three weeks into our launch, it’s that the challenge for publishers isn’t revenue, it’s the cost structure. We’ve been able to accomplish a great deal of outstanding journalism at minimal cost. The barriers to entry for great journalism are minimal.


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