Gawq, a new mobile news app, wants to help news consumers cut through the noise. The free app presents news from more than 150 media sources, such as CNN, Fox News, ABC News, New York Post, NBC News, CBS News, Newsweek, and The New York Times. It allows users to filter between news, opinion and more. There is also a comparison tool, which users can easily slide from left to right to see the way that different media outlets on either side of the political spectrum have covered the same story. Additionally, users can check facts and rate articles by answering a few questions about their fairness, accuracy and quality and explain their review.
The app was created by entrepreneur and investor Joshua Dziabiak. He named the app Gawq as a remainder for consumers that they need to be more cognizant of the information they consume instead of essentially “gawking at their phone,” which is why it is spelled with a “q” to imply that consumers should ask questions.
“I want to build something that establishes trust with consumers at large, giving them the tools to better understand what’s happening in the world without having to worry as much about what it is they’re reading,” Dziabiak said. “I think there’s also a real opportunity to give journalists a new measure of success that isn’t solely based on how many clicks you can get.”
During his career, Dziabiak acted as a marketer and worked with big media platforms to deliver ads. In doing so, he became familiar with how algorithms distribute and prioritize content. Unfortunately, they prioritize click-through rates, which means the more sensational the message the more likely it is to get engagement, he explained.
Last spring, Dziabiak began to consider tackling the issue in earnest. He first researched the issue and what was being done about it. He also spoke to consumers to learn what they wanted from the news.
Dziabiak is able to integrate content onto the app by utilizing public methods provided by the media organizations, such as an RSS feed, or he reached out to inquire about integrating their content. In some cases, Dziabiak reached out to simply establish relationships with the organizations.
“With the state of media distribution, it’s quite hard for these organizations to generate revenue and keep things above water, so I wanted to start these relationships because I want to figure out how to support them,” he said.
The app launched last December and currently has 10,000 active users. While Dziabiak began the project on his own, he now has a team of five, including four software engineers as well as a small team of moderators.
Looking ahead, Dziabiak is planning to add local news organizations to the app this year.
“People—more than ever—are engaging with news content, mostly digital,” he said. “There is a lot of misinformation out there and people deserve to be able to get information and know that they have the tools to discover their own truth and not be trapped in the echo chamber that’s being built for them."