News curation platform Piqd has added two new channels to its international offering, expanding its selection of expertly-picked articles to help readers dive deeper into news stories and escape the filter bubbles of their social networks.
Piqd, founded by Konrad Schwingenstein, launched in 2015 in Germany, offering curated news presented as a short summary and analysis of the story followed by a link to the full article.
The international site, Piqd.com, launched in 2017 with five channels on topics including climate change, globalisation, and health, and recently added Doing Good on solutions reporting, launched on 2 May, and Deep Dives, on investigative journalism, that went online on 7 May.
Malia Politzer, who joined as executive editor in January 2018 following the German platform’s international expansion, explained that the changes followed a survey asking readers which topics they found most interesting.
"We gave them space to suggest some of the new channels – we really tried to involve our users in this process,” she said.
"Overwhelmingly, they were the most interested in constructive journalism and investigative journalism, which I think go hand-in-hand in a way.
"Investigative journalism is all about holding power to account and it's really appropriate for this international scope that we're looking at, because a lot of the big investigations now are cross-border, and seeing the different perspectives is really valuable.
"And then our biggest subscribers are millennials, they dominate who reads our publications, and they're very interested in solutions."
The curators on both of the new channels come from various backgrounds, with the aim to paint a diverse picture of the media landscape.
Part of Politzer's role is to find new experts who can contribute to Piqd and to advance the site's diversity as reflected in the stories readers are presented with when they log on to the platform or open the newsletter, collaborating with curators from areas that are under-represented.
"They need to be people who are working full-time in their respective fields. They can be media professionals who have specific beats, they could be social entrepreneurs who are really working everyday and trying to look for solutions, or academics and scientists," she explained.
"But they also have to be people who read a lot regularly as part of what they do, because we don't want people to be going out to search for things. It's people who are consuming a lot of news already in their specific area focus and then they can say 'well this was really phenomenal and people should read it'."
Curators for Deep Dives include Erin McIntyre, independent investigative journalist; Annie Hylton, an international investigative journalist who also teaches journalism at Sciences Po; and Catalina Lobo-Guerrero, a freelance journalist and anthropologist currently living in Spain.
On the constructive journalism channel, readers can get recommendations from Geri Weis-Corbley, chief executive and editor-in-chief, Good News Network; Marie von Hafften, 2018 Story Fellow with the Solutions Journalism Network; and Danielle Batist, founder of Journopreneur and co-founder of the Constructive Journalism Project, among other curators.
The experts are paid for their contribution, as the Piqd platform is funded by a private investment topped up with a subscription model. Readers can either get their recommendations through the website, or sign up to a selection of email newsletters linked to each of the channels.
And as Politzer is looking to diversify the site's output, Piqd will also start to feature more summaries in English of stories that are only covered in other languages.
"At least for me as a journalist it's very useful because you get a different perspective on what people are reading in the newspapers there, and also some different perspectives on political events, so I think it's really valuable," she added.