I try to keep both my badgering and philosophizing to a minimum. At least in public. But I am long overdue to talk to you about what we’re doing at Worldcrunch, where we've come from and where we hope to go. And right now, the moment is ripe.Our website will soon be celebrating its second anniversary. We are not quite grown-up, but we are growing up fast, and neither our responsibilities nor ambitions are getting any smaller.
HOW WE GOT HERE
Worldcrunch was born with a pair of parallel convictions: 1) more than ever, what’s happening across the world shapes our lives as much as what happens around the corner 2) economic and technological changes in the news industry require whole new ways to cover (and discover) that world.
The Internet’s ability to connect people and spread information farther and faster is an immensely powerful new force, and stands at the very heart of what Worldcrunch is about. But this same digital revolution also produces a perilous churn of often unreliable and regurgitated information that offers more clutter than clarity, noise instead of news, as great stories go untold in the search for the clickbait of the moment.
Cartagena, Colombia - (szeke)
If you are reading this, you probably share our basic belief that professional journalism, perhaps more than ever, still holds a fundamental role in keeping us informed. But with the economics of new technology upending the news industry’s traditional business model, the most basic structures for delivering information are coming undone. In some ways, this is creating positive change.
But for the expensive task of foreign coverage the order of the day has been drastic cuts – as more and more top news organizations are simply abandoning original reporting from abroad.
WHERE TO NOW?
Starting two years ago, we saw a different way. We began to build a new digital news source based on a very simple idea borrowed from magazines in places like France, Italy and Japan: scour the international media for the top articles, smartest analysis, the most memorable storytelling… and deliver it as swiftly, accurately and elegantly as possible into the language (English, in our case) of your readers.
The beauty in the concept is twofold: tapping into all the earth’s languages allows us to discover great stories in their own right; while the breadth of international sources offers a unique, and truly global perspective on our world.
So we set out to create a network of partnerships with the world’s top publications, and build a global team of experienced journalists, translators, and editors to help invent a new way to deliver the world’s best stories in smart, sharp English.
While ours was not the kind of website to explode with millions of readers overnight, we saw early on that we had something worthwhile, engaging, unique – and the best proof is all of you, part of a growing base of loyal readers.
Still, from the beginning, we knew it was not a simple path to ensure Worldcrunch as a sustainable business enterprise and lasting source for news. When quality matters, it comes with real costs that don’t ever disappear.
WHAT YOU CAN DO?
About a year ago, we started talking seriously about implementing some kind of premium paid offer for our loyal readers and supporters. We considered everything from voluntary payments to an all-or-nothing paywall. We watched as new models began to be implemented both at the world’s biggest news organizations and the smartest independent sources, and it became clear that quality news outlets of all shapes and sizes could begin to turn to readers to help sustain their operations.
We also conducted a reader survey, which gave us important feedback on this and other crucial aspects of what we do at Worldcrunch.
Shanghai, China - (d. FUKA)
Once we had decided to move forward with a premium offer, we were lucky to find Tinypass, the best new company around in this space, partnering up with them to build a system that is both secure and user-friendly.
Starting in the next few weeks we will activate this premium offer, what is called a “metered model,” designed to allow the widest audience possible to get to know us, while asking our regular readers to pay for full access after they’ve reached a fixed number of articles (15) each month.
We have timed the introduction of our premium offer with a series of major improvements to the Worldcrunch service for readers. First off, we are proud to launch our first-everiPhone and HTML5 apps, which are available now; those customized for Android and iPad will be released very shortly. Over the past year, we have added a dozen new source partners, expanding coverage from publications in Morocco and Poland, China, the United States, Brazil and beyond. More such partnerships are on the way.
So before we officially launch this next chapter for Worldcrunch, we are first coming to you, our earliest supporters, to urge you to subscribe now. There will be a two-month trial period at 99 cents, after which you can choose one of three options: $10/month, $48/six months, $84/year.
There is, we hope, something you value in what Worldcrunch delivers. We know it is something you can’t find anywhere else. With your help, we will continue to work as hard and reach as wide as we can to break down old barriers of language and culture and geography to help us look with new eyes upon the world we all share.
As always, we’d love to hear from you with any feedback on where we’ve been, and where we’re going.
But first… please support us by subscribing now to get full premium access to Worldcrunch!
All my best from Paris!