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2015 General Excellence in Online Journalism, Medium Newsroom winner

Quartz

About the Project

We created Quartz to be a new kind of business news offering that is global, journalistically serious, digitally native, and designed for the mobile devices pervasive in our lives.

This past year marks new journalistic and digital achievements for Quartz, ranging from front-line reporting on the Hong Kong protests to the launch of greatly expanded coverage of India both for Indians and global business readers to deep investigative reporting on unsafe practices in commercial passenger jets to a broad redesign of our website.

By the end of 2014, our team included about 40 full-time journalists (including editors) on three continents who have experience reporting in over 100 countries and speak about 20 different languages. The dozens of news stories we produce daily have included deep analysis and breaking coverage of such important developments as the falling price of oil and the student protests in Hong Kong. Our journalists have produced ambitious features, including a two-part on-location series on the largest water-transfer project in human history (it’s in China) and a six-month investigation into how pilots are violating air safety regulations by taking selfies and other photos from the cockpit and then posting them on Instagram. Our goal is to present smart coverage without taking ourselves too seriously, focusing on the intersection of what’s important and what’s interesting—the piece “Greece has a truly absurd number of pharmacists” included here is exemplary of that approach.

Data and its visualization are central to Quartz. We built a charting tool that all of our journalists use, and open-sourced it for other newsrooms—our journalists alone produced close to 4,000 charts for our readers in 2014. Pieces like “The economic case for paternity leave” included with this entry show how our journalists use charts to great effect in developing analysis and telling stories. And we’ve undertaken increasingly ambitious visualization projects, including the “Every active satellite orbiting the earth” interactive included as part of this entry.

Equally important to our journalism are the design and technology behind it. When Quartz launched in 2012, our unusual site design was lauded for being innovative and beautiful. But we’ve always said that Quartz was a work in progress and we’d continually make it better. The new Quartz introduced in August—our second redesign in two years—introduced a more beautiful story design, even better advertising, and our first homepage. The design gave our stories more room to breathe, especially on tablets and PCs with large screens, and introduced more flexible elements for features. The redesign also introduced Quartz’s first-ever homepage where, in addition to our top stories, readers can find a continually updated news briefing.

Quartz averaged more than 10 million visitors monthly by the last quarter of 2014, more than double a year earlier. About 40% of our readers come from outside the US and over 60% are classified as executives by the online marketing firm Bizo. Within about six months of broadening our coverage with a handful of journalists in India dedicated to Quartz, we had more than one million monthly readers in India. Our widely praised Daily Brief morning email newsletter has over 100,000 subscribers, with an extremely high “open rate” over 40%.