Washington Post
Credit: Image courtesy of Washington Post press office

The Washington Post is producing a series of special reports on the 2016 presidential race exclusively for Flipboard, the magazine-style aggregation app.

These curated packages on each major political candidate mark the beginning of the outlet's partnership with the platform, which will feature all of the Post's editorial content from May 2015.

"It's basically a product for a new, national audience, so for folks that maybe aren't as familiar with the brand," explained Cory Haik, WaPo's executive producer and senior editor for digital news.

"Flipboard has always been such a fantastic vehicle for broader reach... We just see it as a utility in place to aggregate topical content in the moment."

The first report on Senator Ted Cruz, who announced on Twitter that he would be "running for President", was published on Monday (March 23). The Post got wind that Cruz would be making an announcement over the weekend, and started putting the package together on Sunday night just in time for his announcement, which came just after 11pm EDT (3am GMT, Monday).

WaPo Flipboard
Screenshot from the Washington Post on Flipboard

The report features a range of stories, from a piece analysing the connections between Cruz's faith and his politics (the senator hails from Houston, Texas, once the 'buckle' of The Bible Belt) to an interview with a Los Angeles street artist who created a notorious photo of Cruz covered in tattoos, cigarette dangling from his mouth.

In line with Flipboard's magazine-style layout there is a heavy focus on multimedia, with large images and videos. There is also a mix of new and archive content, with some pieces designed specifically for the Flipboard experience.

Other features that will run across all profiles, said Haik, include "key facts" about the candidates, a summary of their social media presence, "most outrageous falsehoods" – which aggregate all the fact-checks the Post has done on that particular candidate – and "make-or-break profiles" including in-depth analysis and reports.

"We're being quite deliberate about what we're curating", she explained, "putting together what we think is a very comprehensive package that should give you everything you need to know about that candidate, that feels interesting and accessible to a broader base."

People go back and forth and say 'are we building native apps or do we care about the web?' and the truth is, you care about bothCory Haik, Washington Post
Content on Flipboard will also be subject to the same metered paywall as the Post's website, asking readers to pay after they access 20 free articles a month.

Flipboard launched as a mobile app in 2010 but only launched a full-feature website in February of this year. The partnership with the Post is, in part at least, a canny push to raise its profile and drive more users, but Haik insists that the partnership has real benefits for the Post too.

"The app ecosystem is important... people sort of go back and forth and say 'are we building native apps or do we care about the web?' and the truth is, you care about both."

The key difference between apps and the web, she explained, is the proportion of returning visitors between the two.

"The app universe is one that really gets people to come back to those products, it's a daily habit... people are deeply engaged.

"Flipboard has that, they are sort of the darling of that... the original, and so this partnership is about putting our content there for those kinds of users to expose our content to a broader user base, and one that's highly engaged."

Earlier this week the New York Times reported Facebook has plans to begin hosting news content, with the New York Times and BuzzFeed speculatively named as initial partners.

Would the Washington Post consider that too?

"We have a very good relationship with Facebook, we've got a very good relationship with Twitter, we do lots of partnerships with those guys", said Haik diplomatically, although she added, "we don't have any specific plans for anything like that at the moment.

"The world that we're in is that we don't rule anything out, we like to explore any and all options."

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