Amazingly, today marks a year since we launched Quartz.
Our goal from the start was to create a new kind of business news offering that would be global, journalistically serious, digitally native, and designed for the mobile and tablet devices that increasingly dominate our lives.
There was skepticism. Some people asked whether the world really needed yet another business news outlet. What, they asked, would distinguish Quartz? We always said that was really a question for our readers. If they showed up to qz.com—and more importantly, kept coming back—then we would know we were doing something right.
Well, thank you. More than 21 million people have visited Quartz since we launched. We’ve surpassed all of our goals, and are now targeting even greater audience growth for the year ahead. We were named one of the 50 best websites of 2013 by Time magazine and made it onto TED’s 100 favorites, as well.
Quartz’s readers include CEOs, government officials, investors, thinkers, entrepreneurs. We know this because you share our content every day with friends on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Sina Weibo and other social platforms. In fact, social media has been the key to our growth, accounting for more than half of Quartz’s traffic.
Our journalism, we like to say, tries to see around corners. The obsessions we focus on and the stories we write often deal with the cutting edge of industry: 3D printing, natural gas exploration, mobile payments, Arctic shipping, bitcoin. The day Quartz launched our top story was “Facebook’s plan to find its next billion users: convince them the internet and Facebook are the same.” In the year since, that topic—the next billion people to come online, almost all of them using mobile phones—has become an issue of global focus. We’ll even be hosting a conference about it in November.
But equally important to our journalism is the design and technology behind it. Quartz looked pretty different than most news sites when we launched a year ago. The design is intended to get out of your way and let the content shine above all. We’ve won some awards for it, and have continued to improve the look and feel, redesigning part of the site before we even finished our first year in business. This summer, we added our own spin on commenting to Quartz, allowing readers to annotate individual paragraphs in the margins. You’ll see more progress like that in the months to come.
One of our core innovations at Quartz, it’s worth noting, is the advertising that appears on the site (and keeps this operation running). These are beautiful and responsively designed ads that people actually want to look at. We don’t run industry-standard ad units on Quartz; we run custom advertising that you can’t really find elsewhere on the web.
All of us at Quartz, from the writers to the developers to the salespeople, are animated by the challenge of capturing this new global economy in a new way. We’re even happier when we can do so using data, charts and maps. Quartz’s capabilities in those areas will be an area of core investment over the coming year. (We already built a charting tool that all of our journalists use, and open-sourced it for other newsrooms.) We’ll also be expanding our staff outside the US; we currently have a handful of full-time journalists in Europe and Asia and contributors throughout the world.
A year into this adventure, we have even more conviction about that opportunity for an online publication about the new global economy, and a much more specific sense of what needs to be done. We still view the creation of Quartz as an ongoing process, and one that benefits directly from your knowledge. We hope you will be in touch with tips, suggestions, and submissions. You can always reach our newsroom directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you’re not already signed up for our popular morning email, the Daily Brief, you should do that now.
Thank you for your support over the past year. We really appreciate it.
Kevin J. Delaney
Editor in chief