Following the political discourse of the 2016 presidential election, Abridge News was created to offer a way for people to consider differing views without the inevitable shouting matches. Although the site showcases contrasting views, it is meant to be an ally and partner for traditional newspapers and journalists to help frame their content in a broader context.
Laura Carpenter, one of three co-founders, said she was “sick of people—on both ends of the political spectrum—stereotyping without taking the time to understand and empathize.”
To help combat stereotyping news from opposite political sides, the website enables readers to see topics from different perspectives, “creating a space for people looking to escape the echo chambers and filter bubbles,” said Carpenter.
The website achieves this by providing readers with facts and a variety of curated op-eds on a trending topic every day. The small team of three (which also includes David Byas-Smith, co-founder and chief technology officer, and Kristine Sowers, co-founder and editorial lead) focus on one topic a day so they can properly produce vetted, high-quality, and relevant work, but as the team grows, the amount of content will scale proportionally.
Each topic is introduced with a set of relevant facts that aims to provide users with a brief, objective framework. The spectrum feature allows users to get an overview of perspectives by swiping left or right to navigate the different views. Abridge News doesn’t use an algorithm; the team hand-picks every piece. To label the spectrum, they uses research on the topic to decide if it is political, featuring left and right-leaning arguments, or non-political, with more non-partisan stances.
“To ensure we choose the best possible articles, we read anywhere between 15 to 40 different articles before deciding which four to feature,” said Carpenter.
To narrow the list, they find the most thoughtful, fact-filled op-eds with views farthest from each other, and then they choose two that fall between. This is all based on content and not according to its publication’s reputation.
“We want to be the go-to platform for independent thinkers who want to understand what others think about important issues and contribute their own points of view,” said Carpenter.
The team plans to launch an Abridge News app (iOS and Android) this fall, a content campaign for the 2018 Midterms and an Abridge News Ambassador’s program.
“There is already an extraordinary amount of thoughtful, responsible journalism out there,” Carpenter said. “We just believe something is needed to bridge the divide between different audiences.
For more information, visit abridgenews.com.