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Why We Started Transfin.? The Platform Approach to News

Founder and CEO, Transfin.
Aug 22, 2018 8:38 AM 3 min read
Editorial

When you read something unexpected on Twitter – like a post announcing the death of an artist, a prominent politician’s hate speech, a well-known company going bust, there is a good chance you will doubt its veracity.

 

Google the story to check?

 

If there is any reference on a major News website, that’ll probably do it.

 

Right?

 

Ironic how despite our society’s heartburn and frustration with the Media, we still relate a News website (or Newspaper or News channel) with some notion of credibility, in comparison to a tweet. Perhaps our faith is rooted by the belief that News generated “professionally” would have some sense of validation, maybe even accountability.

 

Allowing only authoritative information to come on the “record” is a value-add we seek in traditional media. This stands contrary to our special liking for social media, where anyone is allowed to publish and leverage its network effect.

 

As discussed in my previous post, media at large, both traditional and social (i.e. what I called the old and the new world) are going wrong. The former’s values are diluting under the burden of an obsolete non-scalable business model. The latter’s untrammelled influence makes them a tool to easily mislead, obfuscate, and polarize our world.

 

The solution, like for most things in life, lies in the middle.

 

Keeping that mission in mind, we at Transfin. would like to describe ourselves as an “Audience centric” digital News media company. We intend to combine the quality framework imposed on traditional media, with the scalability and openness of social media.

 

What Does that Mean?

 

We crowd-source News content from our users. Anyone with an interest in writing and an inclination or domain expertise in a relevant theme is welcome to publish with us.

 

However, each article submitted, like in the old world, goes through an editorial cycle before getting published.Our team takes charge of fact-checks, source validation, plagiarism and copy editing, while minimizing argument gaps and ensuring the published articles possess clarity and depth. Thanks to an extensive Editorial Charter, we aim to maintain a high standard of quality, rejecting 9 out of 10 articles submitted.

Why We Started Transfin.? The Platform Approach to News
Transfin. - The New Way?

  

Our users become the content creators and Transfin. becomes the gate keeper.

 

What you may ask is the rationale behind combining a User Generated Content (UGC) platform with checks and balances?

 

3 reasons:

 

1. Low Capital: An organic and bottom-up approach towards generating News content will ensure we stay capital light
2. High Quality: Incorporating an editorial cycle would ensure a high-quality output
3. Less Bias: Giving all users the freedom to generate content minimizes the possibility of Editorial bias

  

With these forces in mind, can I claim this to be the formula which can bridge News Media’s scale-quality gap?

 

Well, I don’t know.

 

Each of these reasons attract their own set of challenges, highlighted below in green:

 

  1. An organic and bottom-up approach towards generating News content will ensure we stay capital light – how to ensure a regular generation of good quality content without depending on paid journalists?
  2. Incorporating an editorial cycle would ensure a high-quality output – if editorialization stays "non-automated", how would you scale it up?
  3. Giving all users the freedom to generate content minimizes the possibility of Editorial bias – how to avoid bias when you have to decide which article gets published and which doesn’t?

 

While taking this journey, I will try my best to communicate how News media may deal with these red flags, based on our experiments here at Transfin. On the way it’s a certainty we will stumble upon other existential struggles. Would love to discuss them as well, when they arrive.

 

We need to remember how despite our noble intentions, ideas typically manifest differently under execution. Mistakes will happen. As entrepreneurs do, I’m sure at some stage we may consider a ‘pivot’ away from where we started. Our vision however will stay the same:

 

To maintain the sanctity and quality of true journalism in an open ecosystem which allows anyone to write.

 

And when I have no clue…like any good journalist, I will just throw them at you as something to think about.

 

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