Economist’s deputy editor Standage talks Espresso
Joseph Lichterman of the Nieman Journalism Lab spoke with The Economist deputy editor Tom Standage about Espresso, a daily news digest delivered via email or a dedicated app, which has been downloaded more than 600,000 times.
Here is an excerpt of Standage’s comments:
What we did with Espresso was instead of doing that in a weekly cadence, we should be doing it in a daily cadence. So Espresso is again meant to be the daily desert-island briefing. And there are a lot of these news daily briefings around, but what we wanted to be was forward-looking — to give you the feeling of being ahead of the news, “this is what’s coming up today, and look out for this.”
Another aspect of it is — and I get all the morning briefings, Sentences, the FT one, and Quartz’s, and the rest of them — is that we don’t do links. The reason that we don’t do links, again, if you want to get links you can get them from other people. You can go on Twitter and get as many as you like. But the idea was everything that you need to know is distilled into this thing that you can get to the end of, and you can get to the end of it without worrying that you should’ve clicked on those links in case there was something interesting. So we’ve clicked on the links already and we’ve decided what’s interesting, and we’ve put it in Espresso.
That’s the same that we do in the weekly as well — we’re not big on linking out. And it’s not because we’re luddites, or not because we don’t want to send traffic to other people. It’s that we don’t want to undermine the reassuring impression that if you want to understand Subject X, here’s an Economist article on it — read it and that’s what you need to know. And it’s not covered in links that invite you to go elsewhere. We’ll link to background, and we’ll link to things like white papers or scientific papers and stuff like that. The idea of a 600-word science story that explains a paper is that you only need to read the 600-word science story — you don’t actually have to fight your way through the paper. There is a distillation going on there.
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