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Key links:
Primary website:
qz.com
Primary Twitter:
@qz

Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

Quartz is an online business publication that provides reporting and analysis on the global economy. The site was launched in 2012 by Atlantic Media, owner of The Atlantic, The Wire and National Journal.

The site is based in New York and has a newsroom staff of around 25 reporters, editors and developers. In building the publication from scratch, Atlantic Media poached notable talent from similarly oriented titles, beginning with editor-in-chief Kevin Delaney, who came from The Wall Street Journal. Other staff members came from publications like The Economist, Bloomberg, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and Reuters.

Quartz was imagined as a free digital publication with a strong focus on reaching readers on mobile devices. As a result Quartz’s site was designed as a mobile-first reading experience. Quartz developers used responsive design to build a site that has the look and functionality of an app, but adapts to the screen size a user prefers, from mobile phones to desktop browsers. As the site’s editors write on their About Us page, “Call us a website or, if you like, a web app: Quartz combines the benefits of the free and open Web with the elegance of an application.”

In April of 2013 Quartz updated its website with a more minimalist site design and simpler navigation, while also adding new features for offline reading. It redesigned the site again, this time adding a homepage, in August 2014.

Another remarkable aspect of Quartz design is that it eschews the normal news layout of multiple headlines and in favor of a presenting readers with one lead story displayed in full.

In July 2013 the site reported reaching 5 million monthly users, 2 million in the U.S. As of 2014, about 40 percent of the site’s traffic came from mobile and 70 percent came from social links. The Atlantic’s goal, as of 2013, was for the site to be profitable by 2015. Quartz launched an India-specific site in 2014.

With a relatively small staff and ambitions for global business coverage, Quartz created an editorial strategy that revolves around the concept of “obsessions” as the organizing principal for reporting rather than beats. The obsessions at launch ranged from generalist to more specific, including areas like “China’s slowdown,” “Euro crunch,” “startups,” and “the mobile web.” That structure, according to Quartz Global News Editor Gideon Lichfield, allows the organization to follow larger phenomenons in the business world and adapt to changes more quickly.

Quartz is an advertising-supported site, launching with four companies — Boeing, Chevron, Cadillac, and Credit Suisse — and expanding to 15 by May 2013. Though the site employs display advertising, Quartz also sells so-called “sponsored content,” an ad format that presents messaging from companies in a design similar to editorial content. Aside from advertising, the site generates revenue through its events division, Quartz Live, which is similar to the The Atlantic’s events program. Events were expected to provide 10 percent of Quartz’s revenue in the program’s first year.

Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
Oct. 3, 2017 / Joshua Benton
If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a Slack bot for journalists — Quartz got some money from Knight last year to launch its own Bot Studio, building interactive tools/chat interfaces/general bot substrate for both itself and other newsrooms. (More here and here.) Today, Quartz announce...
Sept. 19, 2017 / Ricardo Bilton
Quartz is using Apple’s new AR tech to “help people understand objects in the news” on iPhones — Of all the emerging technologies that Apple has its eyes on, CEO Tim Cook has seemed particularly excited about augmented reality. Before long, many people will “have AR experiences every day, almost like eating th...
Sept. 18, 2017 / Trushar Barot
The future of news is humans talking to machines — This year, the iPhone turned 10. Its launch heralded a new era in audience behavior that fundamentally changed how news organizations would think about how their work is discovered, distributed and consumed. This summer,...
Sept. 6, 2017 / Ricardo Bilton
Quartz is celebrating its 5th birthday with a handful of product launches (including a hardcover book) — Since its launch in 2012, Quartz has pushed the envelope with new ideas in distribution, visualization, and the general relationship between reporting and technology. Now, as it’s celebrating its five-year annivers...
Aug. 22, 2017 / Ricardo Bilton
Quartz created a bot that can break news — and wants to help other news orgs develop their own — Since its early days, Quartz has built its brand on in part on infusing coding into its reporting. Now, the organization is close to making it easier for other organizations to bring a similar spirit to their own newsroo...

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Primary author: Justin Ellis. Main text last updated: September 11, 2014.
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