Quartz is an app launched recently by Quartz Media to bring curated news from major publishers, including Quartz, to subscribers in a more personalized, intelligent way. Users can stay informed by reading and compiling news articles, following their favorite thinkers, and engaging with an informed community on topics they're passionate about. The digital subscription is $14.99 a month after a 30-day free trial.
What differentiates the Quartz app from other news apps is that it essentially combines the best of social media with verified news. So many people rely on social media for current event coverage, but concerns about fake news and trolls can make these platforms feel unreliable and/or toxic. With its app, Quartz attempts to mitigate these fears by raising the bar for both news stories and those participating in the critical discussion of them. One of the first things you see on the Quartz app webpage is the line: "Join the Quartz community for all the intelligence, without the noise."
What this looks like is articles featured based on your interests and posted by trend-setters and experts you follow and trust. From the CEO of the World Bank to the founder of Girls Who Code, individuals making up this community represent people likely to provide critical commentary on news with higher levels of civility and intellect than your average social media commentor. It was very refreshing to be able to read controversial news stories and scroll through comments that were, for the most part, thoughtful and well-informed critiques. While outrage and strong emotions are still expressed, the comments are almost always relevant, and the fact that you can’t respond directly to any one comment keeps replies from getting personally offensive.
The Quartz app is easy to navigate and curate so that your feed is filled with content and individuals that interest you. Though it’s expensive, the quality of the app is evident, and the ability to engage with influential minds and industry leaders is really enticing.
The double-edged sword of the Quartz app is its elite community. While users know they’re paying $15 per month for higher quality news and discussion, and while I appreciate a social and news network that doesn’t include the low-blows and trash talk we’ve all become used to, it seems problematic to reserve quality content and conversation for those who can pay. I still feel conflicted, but in my gut something doesn’t feel quite right about the cultivation of an exclusive, elite news community.
If you have the $15 a month to spend and are sick of Twitter trolls, the Quartz app is a high-quality purchase you should look into. If nothing else, you can try it out for a month and see how you feel, but just know that the perspectives you’ll be exposed to might not reflect those of the larger population.Image: by rawpixels via Unsplash