The winners of tomorrow in news: 6 media and news tech startups to watch

New media and mediatech startups are founded by ambitious entrepreneurs every year. Twipe started the same way 10 years ago from a passion to develop technologies that help publishers grow digital subscribers. But who are the winners of tomorrow?

Join us as we explore 6 of the many bold initiatives from the current media startup ecosystem.

This is a topic we address also in the upcoming Digital Growth Summit. Who do you think will be the winners of tomorrow in news media? Submit your entries here. We will work to get in touch with your favourites and hear from them during the Summit. If you don’t yet have a ticket for the Summit, you can still buy one at early bird rates.

Forum.eu – removing language barriers in European journalism

Whilst Europe is a continent with a rich history of working closely together, 1 thing still divides it: language. Berlin-based startup Forum.eu have set out to solve this. Each day, Forum.eu offers its readers up to 7 specially selected articles from a network of publishing partners that feature on the day’s European news agenda. These articles are then translated by the Forum.eu team into 6 languages (English, French, German, Greek, Polish and Spanish, with more in the pipeline) and available to subscribers. Through these articles, the platform aims to spark the day’s discussion without the limiting factor of the language barrier. 

Forum.eu Website

Alongside sparking debate, the startup aims to ensure that readers across the world are well informed about what happens in this ever more globalised world. The platform is not striving to disrupt the media scene for publishers, but instead compliment it by putting their work in the spotlight. Publishers currently signed up to Forum.eu include The Telegraph, Die Zeit, El Mundo, ElDiario.es and The New York Times, alongside smaller publishers like Balkan Insight, EFSYN and Viegrad Insight. With a plethora of top publishers signed-up, the success of Forum.eu is one we will follow closely!

Ceretai – measuring diversity in online content

The need to embrace and celebrate diversity is vital, therefore, surfacing diverse content is a must. This process is often difficult and time consuming for media outlets. Ceretai, a Swedish mediatech startup (recently nominated as techpioneer in the 2021 World Economic Forum’s Future of Media report) wants to solve this.

Through the innovative use of AI, their software analyses gender representation, age distribution and different measures of how they are portrayed in the content to ensure that media companies can get a quick view of such diversity information. The data is available through a Diversity Dashboard which keeps track of the work done to achieve diversity. The tool helps media companies to surface the best and most diverse possible content. 

We want the unconscious biases we are constantly exposed to and affected by to become conscious. We want it to be general knowledge, so that everyone can make informed decisions.

Matilda Kong, CEO & Co-Founder Certai

Alongside the great work of their software, Ceretai also provide diversity workshops and write a blog about their journey. The startup is certainly working hard to ensure social change and diversity, with their mission not being over until every media company has a diversity partner. They have already seen some great successes, including working with the BBC to explore gender diversity in the popular series Game of Thrones. 

France Live – an ambitious move to grow from regional to national relevance

France Live is the brainchild of major French publisher and long standing Twipe customer Ouest-France. The new medium is 100% digital and aims to drive discovery of articles from various titles and get internet news readers more engaged with the news. Through France Live, articles from local, regional and national press are all presented to readers based on their preferences. As a digital-only source, it is a major step forward in the national space for regional publisher Ouest-France, following the already successful launch of their digital-only edition L’Édition du Soir. 

France Live Website where articles from various publishers can be discovered

France Live is available both web and mobile apps and aims to integrate other publishers from across France. The ambitious goal is to eventually develop around 40 city specific applications to create a network of apps across the country. By ensuring citizens are kept up to date with both local and national news, France Live hopes to present readers with an exceptional wealth of information and act as a trustworthy national source.  

Mavin – striving to build the IMDb score for online content

Mavin is a Netherlands based start-up attempting to fight the growing level of misinformation seen online through a plugin where readers can rate and review the trustworthiness of online article. This way Mavin’s hope is to bring readers back to their trusted and favourite news sources.

The ultimate goal is for online articles to have a Mavin Trust Score that allows readers to instantly recognise the reliability of an article. “The IMDB of online content” as they call themselves. Of course the score is still not entirely straight forward to understand and the company has yet many hurdles to cross. For example an article we published earlier this month on our Future of News Blog had a Mavin Score of 83, similar to a recent article published by the BBC, based entirely on their AI analysis. We have yet to understand what this means and how this uses both AI and user reviews, but certainly news trustworthiness indicators are a trend that will play a role in the future of news.

Mavin Trust Score of one of our recent articles

The solution also provides publishers insights on how trustworthy the public find their content and publishers are charged 1 cent per rating, a claimed average save between 50-75% on moderation costs. 

It’s great to see an initiative that helps readers and publishers take back control from the tech giants. The team of 4 are on a mission to integrate their solution as an API into online social and traditional media platforms across the globe. 

The 19th – a news source for those unrepresented in US media

The 19th is an independent, non-profit news organisation founded in Austin, Texas in 2020. The new publisher was founded by Emily Ramshaw, previously Editor-in-Chief of Texas Tribune, and Amanda Zamora, Digital Editor and Product Manager at publishers across the US, including Texas Tribune and The Washington Post.

Named after the 19th amendment of the US Constitution, which made voting a right for all regardless of gender, the non-profit’s newsroom is a news source for those in society who have been underserved and under represented in the US media. 

The team prides itself on being independent and led by values like reporting that is rooted in facts, data, evidence and excellence, and ensuring that both their journalism and staff reflect the diversity of the USA. Alongside these values, The 19th are very transparent to readers about how their journalism is funded and by who. This recently attracted celebrities like Meghan Markle and Hillary Clinton to interview or participate in their initiatives.

“To me, it’s not enough just to be reaching people on our own platforms, we have an enormous responsibility to reach women and other underserved groups wherever they may be, on whatever platforms they’re already consuming.”

Emily Ramshaw, Co-founder The 19th

We have seen a similar laudable initiative back in 2018 with the NewsMavens project in Poland which aimed to bring news of the world entirely curated and written by women. The goal was to remove gender bias in content. Unfortunately NewsMavens stopped after 2 years. The 19th represents a new step in this positive direction and their mission is promising to see at a time when the world risks becoming ever more polarised. 

Tortoise Media – one in depth story every week

As the name may suggest, Tortoise Media is a slow news platform founded in 2019 by former BBC News Director and Times Editor James Harding. In a world full of breaking news alerts and 24-hour news access, people are easily left behind and become uninterested in news. They also don’t often get to see the detail of what is behind a story. Through their slow news, Tortoise Media aim to change this. Rather than publishing a constantly updating stream of news, Tortoise covers just one story a week. In doing this, they will take a look at what’s driving the news. 

Instead of relying on advertising, the company relies on “inclusive membership” from individuals and businesses. Business memberships are then distributed by charitable organisations and groups in order to address the gaps in Tortoise Media’s demographics. This will ensure that they are able to remain independent and inclusive and enable people across its’ membership to have access to top quality news. 

On Tuesdays, Tortoise journalists talk through the news with members

In a bid to keep this inclusive nature, Tortoise members are able to access “ThinkIn” discussions which are hosted by editors and members to discuss stories and ensure that members feel heard. For examples on Tuesday’s, Tortoise journalists have a meeting to chew over the live news agenda and open the conversation to members who have a chance to share their thoughts.

Who do you think will be the winners of tomorrow?

These are only a few examples from the hundreds of news media and tech initiatives that are being rolled out worldwide. Who do you think will be the winners of tomorrow in news media? Let us know who would be your nominees.

We are working to invite some of them to our upcoming Digital Growth Summit. If you haven’t registered yet, hurry up, early bird tickets are still available.

Matthew Lynes
Media Innovation Analyst @ Twipe

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