Grid, a ‘Fuller Picture’ News Site, Goes Live

Grid, a news site under construction for over a year, went live early Wednesday, with the aim of becoming a one-stop-shop for detailed renders of the day’s biggest stories and their significance.

Mark Bauman, who covered war and genocide around the world for ABC News before becoming a senior executive with National Geographic and the Smithsonian Institution, started Grid because, he said, he had become frustrated. by covering important issues.

“A lot of my friends and I bounce between more than a dozen sites a day, trying to make sense of what has become an increasingly complex news cycle, and it’s not a one-off experience.” , he said in an interview. “I mean, a medical report on one site will tell me how the latest variant of Covid will affect my health, but not say anything about how it affects the supply chain.”

Mr Bauman, who launched the project in August 2020, said he raised around $ 10 million in the first round of funding from Abu Dhabi-based International Media Investments and Brian Edelman, an executive technological. In March, he hired Laura McGann, formerly Editorial Director at Vox, to build the newsroom and establish Grid’s editorial identity.

“Our job is not to gradually cover the news,” Ms. McGann said in an interview. “We think a lot of places are doing it well. We watch the news and think, “Okay, how do we stop the picture and help people see a fuller picture? “”

Digital publishing’s silver bullet is a story format McGann calls “a 360,” which examines a single topic from a variety of perspectives. An article published on Wednesday, for example, examines the issue of refusals of vaccination against Covid-19 by pregnant people with contributions from journalists specializing in science, disinformation, politics and race.

“We can tell you a story that shows you what you need to know from different angles and prioritizes what really matters, not necessarily what’s new or what just happened,” Ms. McGann said.

She added that she encouraged her reporters of different paces to join forces on their stories, creating an interdisciplinary approach that aims to set Grid apart from other sites, with an emphasis on computer graphics.

There is no shortage of competition. In addition to large news organizations and seasoned online publications, recent media start-ups include Axios, the successful Washington news site founded by Politico alumni Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen and Roy Schwartz; Air Mail, a general interest weekly run by former Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter; Puck, co-founded by editor Jon Kelly, who worked under Mr. Carter’s direction at Vanity Fair; Punchbowl News, a Washington insider publication started by three former Politico journalists; Lookout Local, a local news company supported in part by the Knight Foundation and run by media analyst Ken Doctor; and Substack, the digital newsletter platform that hosts Glenn Greenwald, Heather Cox Richardson and Bari Weiss.

Capital B, a non-profit media outlet for black communities run by Lauren Williams, former editor-in-chief of Vox, is expected to arrive this year. And Ben Smith, former New York Times media columnist, and Justin Smith, former managing director of Bloomberg Media, last week announced plans for a global news site with the ambition of reaching 200 million readers. .

Washington-based Grid starts off with a team of over 20 journalists and continues to hire. The team includes Chris Geidner, former MSNBC columnist and editor of BuzzFeed News; Kay Steiger, a former editor-in-chief of Vox Washington; and Tom Nagorski, former editor-in-chief of ABC News. Vox co-founder Matt Yglesias will serve as editor and host a Grid podcast with Ms McGann, while continuing her Substack newsletter.

Unlike many other new digital publications, Grid does not have a paywall. Mr Bauman said the site will make money from advertising, with the aim of creating subscription products and potentially branching out into consulting and software.

“We write for anyone who wants or needs greater clarity on the most important stories of the day, and we believe there are millions of people who fit that description,” Mr. Bauman.

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