Job Opening: Software Engineer (Come work with us!)
We’re seeking a software engineer to join our small-but-growing team here in San Francisco.
We’re a design and software company on a mission to make complex topics understandable. We create engaging and approachable visual content in our web-based stack format: a go-at-your-own-pace reading experience that weaves together illustrations, animations, photographs and interactive elements.
In addition to developing and maintaining this platform, we design explanatory content for a variety of nonprofits and publishers, including The Gates Foundation, the ACLU, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and KQED. Explainers powered by our technology have been featured on BoingBoing, The New York Times, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Verge, BrainPickings, and Talking Points Memo.
If you’re unfamiliar with our work, check out our library.
What We’re Building
Over the past year, we’ve been talking to numerous organizations, news outlets, educators, and individual designers who want to produce their own content in our format. With every passing day, we’re receiving more and more inbound interest.
Rivers and Rocks: Why Do We Treat Explainers So Badly?
Here at Newsbound, I spend 90 percent of my days wrestling with the question of how to use visual explanation as a point-of-entry into thorny, consequential topics. It’s an all-hands-on-deck challenge, so I’m thrilled when I see publishers innovating in this space.
Lately there’s a lot to be excited about:
The Atlantic and the BBC are investing in the production of animated video explainers.
- The New York Times is exploring living infographics that grow alongside a developing story.
- Conversational, Q-and-A explainers seem to be popping up everywhere — some even going viral when their topic leads the news cycle.
Circa is tackling the challenge of how to bring mobile users up-to-speed on breaking stories and keep them engaged after the initial noise quiets down.
- And a growing number of publishers and organizations are experimenting with the highly visual, go-at-your-own-pace explainer format developed by Newsbound over the past year.
But looking across the explanatory landscape, there’s a glaring problem. While the news industry is investing in topic-based explainers, it’s failing to get the return it deserves. This isn’t due to lack of demand. News consumers are as hungry as ever for context and backstory. The problem is in the presentation.
Too often we treat explainers like just another drop in the river of news. They should be the rocks that the river runs past.
Digital Privacy 101
Over the past six months, we’ve worked closely with SpiderOak and their nonprofit arm, the 'Zero-Knowledge' Privacy Foundation, to explain various facets of the digital privacy debate. So far, we’ve produced three explainers on the subject and, if you have 15 minutes to spare, you should really check them out.
They were all written before the NSA revelations came to light and don’t really touch on the issue of government surveillance. However, they do show how Internet companies large and small are collecting information about us — data that, as we’ve learned, can ultimately be accessed by the government.
The first piece in the series simply attempts to answer the age-old question: “Why should I care about privacy if I have nothing to hide?”
The second explainer breaks down what’s in those “privacy policies” that we all instinctively agree to whenever signing up for a new service:
And the third installment demystifies “cookies” — the tiny data files sitting on your hard drive that allow advertisers to learn all about you:
Breaking Down The NFL Concussion Settlement
If you happened to read our concussion crisis explainer, you’ll definitely find this news interesting: Yesterday, the NFL agreed to pay $765 million to settle a lawsuit brought against them by 4,800 retired players. Here are a few quick takeaways, gleaned from Mike Florio’s awesome analysis over at NBC’s ProFootball Talk:
- The suit was based on allegations that the NFL concealed the impact of concussions and/or failed to protect players from head injuries.
- The big question looming over the case was whether it would go to trial or instead end up in the judge-driven “arbitration” process, the usual venue for labor disputes. The players obviously wanted the case determined by a jury. The league, on the other hand, didn’t want average citizens determining the case (what with their emotions and gut-level decisionmaking). With endless legal resources, they preferred the drawn-out arbitration process.
In response to the ACLU’s recent revelations about license plate readers (explained by us here), Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum posed these questions to his readers.