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Digital media experiments

A new crowd-sourced, digital news medium free from advertisement went online this week in the Netherlands.

By Gabrielle Kennedy /asdf 03-10-2013

The new medium, called De Correspondent, will be published exclusively in a digital format and only for subscribers. The digital route will give web designers the opportunity to open up new ways of bringing the news to readers, and will challenge writers in their willingness to embrace new design.

“As we’re no longer limited by static paper we can use images in a different way and communicate differently with you, the reader,” designer Harald Dunnink, founder of creative agency Momkai told a crowd of early supporters last month during a first peek view of the new design.

For now special features in the stories are limited to links to sources like special report and figures. The question is how this will develop.

There was a great deal of interest also in the Netherlands for two recent high-profile multimedia projects that gave a glimpse of what news consumption may look like in the future, combining text with video, audio and graphics: Snow Fall, published by The New York Times in 2012, and earlier this year Firestorm by a team from The Guardian.

Crowdsourcing is becoming a venue of choice for those dissatisfied with established media. De Correspondent came into being after more than 15,000 people donated 60 euros (or more) for a one year subscription and attracted international attention for its novelty. And in a similar way designer Peter Bilak of Typotheque in The Hague last year established design magazine Works that Work. “I consider myself a curious person, but I lost interest in reading most design publications,” Peter Bilak told at the time, “because they seem to be fairly repetitive, covering well known people and their projects.”

De Correspondent has its origin in a similar dissatisfaction with established media. It wants to steer clear from the hypes covered by regular media and instead put the news in a new perspective. Initiator Rob Wijnberg was fired as editor from the newspaper NRC Next because he did exactly that: steering away from the regular daily news. Rather than follow hypes he wanted to show for instance how the hypes came into being.

In a year we will see whether writers and designers will have succeeded in creating a new medium and setting a new standard, when the original funds run out and subscribers are asked to renew their faith.

Main image: Correspondents advertising themselves: "A daily medicine against the madness of the day."
Screengrab of cover story De Correspondent
Work that Works, cover

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