Wondering how we create the content on our site? Here is a look into our day-to-day operation.
Each day our team selects a trending news story to feature on our site. We provide some relevant facts to introduce the topic, and then we choose four op-eds to create a spectrum of different perspectives.
- The Facts
Each topic covered on Abridge News is introduced with some key facts and relevant information. We imagine a reader coming across the topic with little to no background context on the story and ask ourselves, “what essential information would she like to know before engaging with the perspectives?” The facts are presented in bullet-point format with short, simple sentences. They aim to provide a brief, unbiased framework that can be fleshed out by our spectrum of opinions. Our facts usually answer a basic Who? What? When? Where? Why? type of question related to the day’s topic. The process for gathering facts typically goes like this:
A. Read at least 4–5 straight reporting coverage pieces pertaining to the topic from trusted, traditionally non-biased sources. These sources often include: Associated Press, BBC, PBS, C-Span, and NPR.
B. Scan related Wikipedia pages and relevant original source material.
C. Read through relevant press briefings, official statements, direct interview transcripts, and press conference transcripts.
D. Arrange the most important information gleaned into simple 1–2 sentence bullet points, each of which is then double or triple checked for accuracy.
2. The Spectrum of Opinions
To label our spectrum, we use our research on the topic to decide if it is political, featuring left and right leaning arguments, or non-political, sporting more non-partisan, pro/con stances. Our team then combs the internet for interesting op-ed pieces rooted in fact, albeit sometimes a subset of facts. For more information on why we use op-eds, please click here. If choosing only 4 articles out of all the well-constructed, diverse opinion pieces seems daunting, you’d be correct: for each topic, to ensure we choose the best possible articles we read about 20 before deciding which 4 to feature. We don’t use an algorithm — we hand select every piece we feature at Abridge News. To narrow the list, we find the most thoughtful op-eds with views furthest from one another, and then we locate two that fall in between and place them on the spectrum according to the article’s content, not according to its publication’s reputation. For example, a conservative piece from a traditionally liberal publication would be placed on the right. After we select an op-ed and place it on the spectrum, a team member carefully reads the article and pulls out the three most salient points to form a bullet point list that is quick and easy to read.
3. The Final Product
Before uploading a topic, each set of bullets is double or triple checked for clarity and accuracy. We find a picture available for reuse from Pixabay or Google Images, create a Food For Thought question or two that readers can consider as they peruse the opinion spectrum, then tag the topic to enable our related posts feature. After one final team scan, the topic is up!