OLD Media Moves

Economist staff members working on web-based project

March 13, 2007

A group of six Economist staff members are working on a project, dubbed Project Red Stripe, that is seeking to come up with a web-based product for the business magazine by July, according to a web site for the group.

Project Red StripeUnlike other new journalism ventures where the idea is kept quiet until it’s unveiled, however, the Economist is seeking input from its readers.

The web site states, “We’re a small team set up by The Economist Group, the parent company of the eponymous newspaper. Our mission is to develop truly innovative services online. We already have some ideas, of course. But as champions of free markets, we abhor the concept of a closed system. This is why we would like you to submit your idea (or ideas). Just think big – and we’ll do the rest.”

A blog entry on the web site states, “At this stage, we won’t be using hard criteria, such as commercial viability, to evaluate the ideas. Instead, we’ll try to turn some of the thoughts that have been submitted into true ideas so that we can evaluate each on a level playing field. Having free use of the The Economist Group’s brand and content will mean that we can creatively explore how the idea could be used in relation to the Group (however, this is not a necessary criteria).

“At the end of the week, we’re hoping to have a better understanding of which kind of ideas could make it to the next stage (where we will apply harder criteria, such as whether an idea has a sustainable business model and if this idea is already out there). We’ll certainly be looking at the new submissions – and, most likely, run this process again. So keep those ideas coming.”

The project can use any content or entity owned by The Economist, or it can come up with something unrelated to the company. The project is based out of the London offices of The Economist’s ad agency, and it’s being led by Mike Seery, CIO of the company.

Read more here.

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