Describing Quartz as one of the ‘new breed’ of business news media, senior European correspondent Jason Karaian says the title aims to produce content for ‘devices that are at hand’ and with respect for its readers’ time.
Quartz was founded in New York in 2012 and now has correspondents in offices in London, Paris, Taiwan, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. It gets up to 17 million monthly visits on qz.com and has around 200,000 subscribers on its daily brief.
At Gorkana’s exclusive briefing earlier this week (5 April) Karaian discussed Quartz’ editorial ‘obsessions’, the importance of raw data for the editorial team, and how opportunities for PRs – including those presented by Quartz’ new app – can be created.
‘Obsessive’ journalists drive Quartz’ stories and content
The title does not focus on traditional editorial ‘beats’, but rather an ever-shifting mix of business topics which Karaian says could be as varied as the Euro crunch, the sea and space, or the mobile web. “If you let your reporters write about what they are obsessed with, then you get the best copy,” he said.
To ensure the title stays relevant and topical, Quartz balances what’s important with what’s interesting. “We’re not necessarily a paper of record so we don’t have to cover everything in the whole of the world of business news, if we think it adds something to the conversation we’ll jump in and we don’t then we won’t,” he added.
Correspondents are the first point of contact for data, charts and graphics
Quartz’ charts and infographics are both popular and respected for their quality and insight. Karaian gave the audience some advice on how to pitch data stories to the team: “In terms of who makes the graphics for the title, we all do. As part of my writing process, a lot of my stories start with charts. I’ll see earning’s for something interesting and make a story out of that. You start with a very striking chart and then you write the story.”
Karaian also added that the editorial teams prefer raw data over pre-packaged material when it comes to numbers: “Pre-packaged infographics that we get aren’t super useful to us because we’d rather put it into our style and focus on what we think would be interesting.”
Karaian wants PR pitches for the Quartz app
The title’s first app, which launched in February 2016, pushes breaking news information to consumers via smartphone messages. A new part of the business and an interactive service where the consumer dictates the questions they have for the day’s news, Karaian admitted it’s not a part of the business that lends itself to PR. However, the correspondent says he looks forward to the day where there’s a successful pitch for the platform.
“We haven’t gotten any specific pitches yet saying “this is for your app” probably because it’s not the longest story frame, it’s only around 50 words. The first PR who successfully pitches something that I can put in the app, I’d buy them dinner, or something.”
Otherwise, Karaian described a “strong” relationship between Quartz’ editorial team and PRs. Email is the key to getting in touch, he added.
George Parrett, PR manager at Deloitte, attended the event. He said: “This morning’s briefing with Jason provided the PR industry with a clear sense of what goes on behind-the-scenes at Quartz. As a relatively young, completely digital news outlet, it was particularly helpful to hear Jason’s insight around what makes a story ‘Quartzy’ – essentially digestible financial news that is ‘important’ and ‘interesting’ in equal measure.
“PR professionals need to have a good understanding of the media outlets they are working with. For this reason, it is certainly worth attending these briefings, which tend to throw up useful snippets, hints and tips for the industry to take away, today being no exception.”