How individual-focused mediums silo us away from communities and how we can redesign them to bring us back together.

Alan Schaller, Metropolis

Our email inbox is a personal space that fills with informative, humorous, and beautiful newsletters from almost every organization and topic you can think of. Typically, the act of reading email is meant to be personal and has been designed and written with the intention to serve an individual. But newsletters are made for a collective group of subscribers, aren’t they?

Newsletters have the intention to inform and influence subscribers as a community who have each joined based on a common interest, value, or goal. Additionally, the broader goals of many organizations are transitioning toward serving communities and measuring community…

The impact of bad UX for news and lessons from new approaches trying to fix it.

Photo by Mary Lennox

Are new and innovative designs and technologies for news doomed by mistakes from its past? Will news websites be able to catch up as tech giants push the standards for user experience? In this post, you’ll find two insights gleaned from focus groups with a dozen residents from San Diego who elaborated on reasons for their behaviors for reading and engaging with news online today.

As much as newsrooms are committed to producing good journalism for local communities, their genuine intentions don’t always transfer…

An analysis of the probabilities and opportunities for local journalism with smart city devices

This is an extension of my article “Diversifying news distribution with meaningful collaborations”.

I sought out to learn more about the opportunities between local news and smart cities after identifying relationships in the value local news provides to communities and the goals of smart city technology. I have also been interested in learning more about the difference in serving local news on public devices compared to personal devices.

This article is a report on data and insights found during that research. It was originally gathered and shared amongst Bloom and smart city technology firms based in the U.S. …

Lessons from identifying opportunity outside of the industry

Journalism has historically made its news more adaptable in order to reach new distribution and business opportunities. Richard Gingras, now VP of News at Google, said at ISOJ in 2012: “shifts in distribution shape the business model.” Well… the next strategies for distribution have arrived and we have work to do.

What do you see: mess or opportunity?

The news story was the industry’s first powerful example of how opportunity arises when things are valued independently. As it was unbundled from the newspaper and found its independence as a webpage, it enabled us to distribute and monetize in new ways. …

Up until now, I’ve purposely avoided getting into the weeds of fake news. It has appeared to me as a temporary nuisance to the wider impact of journalism’s challenges with sustainability. However, after seeing millions of dollars spent to fight fake news, as well as thousands of people dedicating time to fact-checking, and yet the nuisance continuing to dominate major headlines, it seems to me that something is being missed.

I took time over the past year to investigate fake news more closely — and by more closely, I mean more universally. I ended up identifying some of the universal…

And what I’m doing about it.

The following covers my research to fill the gaps between local journalism and community engagement. It’s an inside-the-notebook look at what has led me and a fantastic team to create a solution called ACT, reach the podium at a social impact competition, and begin publicly launching our work.

Personally, I constantly think about how my actions, words, and presence can make the most impact for literally everything I do. I seek for ways that I can influence others and for ways people or information can influence me. This affects my decisions on what I…

From the miscommunications that delayed the discovery of oxygen, to the technology that limited the discovery of Uranus, scientists have encountered challenges in the same way journalists and technologists do today in the newsroom. By understanding the process of successful, influential discoveries in science, we can apply their paradigm to journalism to make better sense of its own history, current stance, and potential future.

Inspired by The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn, 1962.

The Paradigm Structure

Defining a framework for a set of information can help organize and better understand its purpose with factual reasoning. Whether it’s how to build a…

Bloom helps local publishers more effectively engage with their community by making content accessible through location-based channels. The Global Editors Network asked us a few questions for their Startups For News competition, ahead of the fifth pitch battle we will be taking part in this week. To vote for Bloom, please do it here.

GEN: What problem are you solving?

Bloom: Local news content has an accessibility problem. Residents, tourists, businesses, and software applications are eager to read and analyze content by location, but they cannot easily gather this content in real-time. This has dramatically decreased readership and engagement in local newsrooms, leading small and large publishers to abandon local reporting in their communities.

What is the solution you are offering?

Our platform enables publishers to geotag content with a specific geographic location based on where the story took place. Our services aggregate the geotagged content and distribute a personalized feed of stories to…

Communities are unique, we know that, but how can we discover what makes them unique and how local journalism needs to be shaped to better meet their needs?

This was a question I asked myself as I passed through big cities and small towns during a recent road trip across the U.S. The beauty, characteristics, motions, emotions, and personalities within a community are what makes traveling feel so adventurous, you never know what you’ll discover in the next town over. Their uniqueness is what gives residents the sense of belonging; fitting in. And, for local journalism, it has the same…

In the rapidly growing industry of journalism, trust should not necessarily be given to the face of the product, but rather should be given to the face of those creating it.

As an amateur painter, I’ve realized that it is more valuable for people to know the intention of your work rather than the outcome that you have produced — or attempted to. Today, from each brush stroke to bug fix, we are all perfecting our work to paint the ever-growing picture of what our imagination deems plausible. …

Stephen Jefferson

Designing for news and communities. Founder of Bloom Labs (, 2016 Tow-Knight Fellow. Washington DC

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