Since it launched four years ago, Quartz has been seen by many publishers in the industry as a constant innovator, as the digital native outlet is regularly expanding and developing new products to keep up with how people are consuming its journalism.
Some of Quartz's recent product launches have included the much talked about mobile app that texts you the news with haikus and emojis as if you were chatting to a friend; Atlas, a platform for creating and hosting charts that includes access to the company's open-source data visualisation tool, Chartbuilder; and Quartz Index, an interactive dashboard that keeps track of the moves and shakes in the global economy.
One other way Quartz is trying to "push the boundaries" of its work is through its special projects. More often than not, these are interactive stories created a few times a year through collaboration between the organisation's journalists, designers, developers and marketing staff, and they are more comprehensive than a daily story.
By the end of 2016, Quartz is aiming to complete and publish four special projects. The most recent one, Power Moves, was published earlier this week, and looks at how business deals and negotiations are conducted in various settings.
These are definitely issues that are in the news or that we think our audience cares about, but because the development and design can take a while, we wouldn't do something that has a short shelf lifeLauren Brown, Quartz
Lauren Brown, special projects editor at Quartz, is one of three people who acts as an editorial liaison between the different teams in the company, shaping the projects and communicating the editorial strategy to marketing and sales.
"Special projects are definitely editorially driven and journalistically ambitious," Brown told Journalism.co.uk.
"These are definitely issues that are in the news or that we think our audience cares about, but because the development and design can take a while, we wouldn't do something that has a short shelf life."
And because Quartz is also treating its special projects as a potential source for additional revenue by selling sponsorship around them, part of the lengthy duration is due to the sales cycle but also to how long it takes to commission the pieces, and to design and develop an initiative of this kind.
"What qualifies as a special project is something that has a concept with it, aside from a single daily story that we might publish.
"There is a design treatment that is varied, so we might be testing out some illustration styles, some photography or just a new layout like the Quartz Index, which is different than the typical story pages and formatting and also takes more development work.
"[Special projects] are typically categorised by the ambition, the concept, the look and feel and the development work behind them."
The idea behind Power Moves came after one of Quartz's reporters, Akshat Rathi, wrote a story after the Paris climate talks about the so-called "indaba", an African negotiation tactic to help people reach a consensus. Brown and Caitlin Hu, deputy news editor, then had the idea of looking at other non-traditional management forms of negotiation and deal-making and build a project around that.
After they came up with the concept and reached out to various reporters at Quartz for story ideas, they worked with an in-house designer and an illustrator to produce the animated gifs and the visuals for the different stories included. The project then went on to the developers, who built the landing page, and marketing, who tried to sell sponsorship for Power Moves, now sponsored by TriNet.
Our whole strategy at Quartz is that our distribution strategy is a social strategy – good stories will find their readers through social mediaLauren Brown, Quartz
Quartz's special projects are promoted on social platforms in the same way as regular stories, Brown said, although in the future there may be an option to expand by organising events that tie in with the launch of a project.
"The thing about special projects is they look and feel different, and they're a bit unique in the unifying concept or principle, but at the end of the day, a good story is still a good story.
"Our whole strategy at Quartz is that our distribution strategy is a social strategy – good stories will find their readers through social media."
For 2016, Quartz set out to do four special projects, which are "journalism we wanted to pursue regardless of whether or not they are sold".
The next one in the series will launch in the autumn, looking at how different companies are innovating.
Next year, Quartz is aiming to complete six projects, and Brown is in the process of transitioning to managing special projects full time.
"We say that Quartz is a place for people who are excited about change and since we launched, we've always tried to keep innovating and keep testing what we do.
"This is just another way to be an incubator for innovation inside the newsroom and try out different ways of telling good stories," said Brown.
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