Introducing Syndicator — A New Way to Navigate the News.
“Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared that the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.” — Neil Postman
In the world of journalism tech, our project is on the scrappy side. Between the Netflixification of News via team Vox, and blockchain-infused citizen-to-journalist networks at Civil, there’s a lot of “new frontier” stuff happening. Our contribution admittedly feels a bit generational amidst more established players. That may sound loaded, but we mean it earnestly.
Young people are more distrustful of the news media than any other age group —even including sources they prefer — and seek more variety and sources for our news. Young people also don’t define the news media as narrowly as previous generations, looking beyond traditional media institutions for news sources (by the way, young people perhaps also prefer reading the news over watching it more than any other age group… y’know, on our phones 😅 but honestly, cable news is the worst).
We grew up alongside the social web, the generation of the riveting pocket-buzz tugging your attention in history class and the worship of the file-sharing pantheon of BitTorrent, Limewire, and Pirate Bay. We were trained to traverse social media UIs and subtweet subtweets, yet even we feel lost in today’s sea of information. Not only lost — lost without reliable and easily identifiable guides. We’ve gone from surfing the Internet to drowning in content.
We’re building a dinghy for this flood, and we’re inviting you aboard. It’s called Syndicator.
It’s a new way to navigate the news by focusing on the people-part of news first.
Rather than focusing on the outlet that publishes the news, we focus on the person writing it. We want you to build connections with individual people instead of company brands.
Instead of allowing black-box social media algorithms to decide what articles you should be reading, Syndicator lets you follow professional journalists and experts directly, providing you with an unfiltered channel to quality information.
Take someone like political reporting powerhouse Maggie Haberman at the New York Times. She previously worked at CNN, Politico and The New York Post, and has broken news over and over, including numerous major scoops on the Trump administration. She knows the right people, she knows the relationships and histories behind a story. You can follow her work here.
These are just two of thousands of journalists on Syndicator who can be guiding signals in the noise.
Here’s how to get started:
- Go to www.syndicator.io
- Click on the “Browse Journalists” button.
- Browse the latest journalists’ stories, or search for the name of a journalist who you might want to follow from the outlets we currently include.
- On the journalist’s individual page, click “follow” to start receiving updates when they write new work.
It’s worth mentioning that the various social media platforms we grew up with were never really designed to serve journalism and the spread of credible, quality information.
They were designed to foster networks of relationships and speed up communication, but they are optimized to understand us for advertising, not help us understand the world. Ultimately we want Syndicator to be a tool that helps you attain a richer media diet by getting to know the people who produce it, beyond the social-media-ranked “news-soylent” so many of us consume.
Syndicator still directs readers back to the outlets journalists and writers work for, but we are intentionally placing the people first. We need journalists right now, and we want to put their work front and center. In an age of YouTube and Twitch influencers, we increasingly need trustworthy individuals for information and insight — journalists ought to also be seen as critical guides in this information multiverse. (Arguably, podcasts like The Weeds or Serial are also great examples of individual journalists providing this guidance). Syndicator is an experimental tool to help readers find and follow these guides.
Syndicator allows users to “syndicate” the group of journalists that can help them navigate the news.
Lastly, we would love to find some new allies in this work! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get involved, or join our mailing list via our homepage here. We also welcome feedback so we can avoid doing dumb things.
That’s all for now!