Staying Woke in the Era of Partisan Media

We are a group of UC Berkeley students who are tired of the stigmas associated with our university. Saying the word Berkeley gets a response of liberal. While a majority of students may be liberal, we realized that many people are unaware of the beliefs and core values of people on the other end of the political spectrum. We also noticed that students who are uninformed claim that they do not have time for the news. Our startup (Woke!) combats both of these problems. We are going revolutionize consuming the news. Woke! is going to be an email subscription newsletter sent out every week day. Our team will analyze the three most intriguing news stories of the day and examine the position of prominent liberal news sources and prominent conservative news sources. We will then try to summarize the key points of the article and the implications they pose. Each summary will be approximately 100 words. Since our target audience is college students, we are going to use a colloquial tone and try to be as straightforward as possible.

One of our main struggles is understanding that what we are doing is not proprietary. Any group of people can copy exactly what we are doing. One reason why we aren’t concerned is because we are a non-profit that simply want people to be more informed about the opinions of the other side. Since we are first to market, our interaction with our consumers is extremely important. Along with the news, we will be sending out surveys on how we can enhance our newsletter.

Another issue we go back and forth on is if we should include a nonpartisan summary of the situation. Some people say this is exactly what people should be consuming simply the facts, while others want the users to understand what both sides say and make their own opinions. This question will be answered once we send out our first week of newsletters. We want to make it as easy and quick as possible for people to consume the news. Until then, we are simply going to write summaries for what both sides say.

We are going to get this venture started by taking advantage of the resources on our campus, both the College of Republicans and Cal Democrats would be beneficial to work with and host speakers from opposing sides of the political party. Both student organizations hold events but we may not partner exclusively with one in order to maintain our unbiased stance instead in our events, both sides would have a chance to discuss their perspectives and help form the public stance. BridgeCal is a new club hoping to minimize the gap between both political parties and grow more understanding between the two perspectives. Many students support the Free Speech Movement thus hearing everyone’s sides is important to creating an open, respectful, and inviting environment. We are hoping to facilitate political discussion and have everyone independently form their well educated opinions. We would like to hold campus venues discussing current political events.

We know that this process will not be easy. We are a customer first organization, without our consumers we are nothing. We may have to make minor tweaks in tone, which articles we pick, and the time we release the newsletter, but we are confident in the viability of this idea.