Quartz is nice, but it’s not a must read
by Adam Levy
There are many reasons that I really, really want to like Quartz, Atlantic Media’s new business website.
First of all, I like the magazine — which is usually very well written and full of unexpected and provocative points of view. Second, of all, well, it’s business news and in a world full of journalistic shrinkage, I welcome the commitment to more financial journalism.
Third, there are some stellar journalists behind this effort — people who have done great work over the years — and I’d love to encourage them.
But, after a week of popping around the site, I’m not ready to commit to bookmarking this site. It boils down to the same reason I don’t subscribe to the Atlantic magazine, despite enjoying the read when I pick it up at a newsstand every now and then: there is some great writing and cool graphics, but it ultimately failed to convince me that it’s a must read.
I had trouble figuring out what it was I had to read. I’m old school, for sure, and rely on the news judgment of new organizations to help me with my time management. Bloomberg’s top stories and the WSJ’s layout are intuitive, easy to follow.
At Quartz, it’s not so clear. The “defining obsessions” across the toolbar isn’t really what I’m obsessed about. I clicked on one and up popped Bloomberg News article I had already read. I clicked on another and got a neat enough graphic showing three other magazine covers progressively ragging on China.
What clinched it for me was on Sunday when I clicked on “The Next Crisis” and got a two-day-old story from Bloomberg on BofA paying $2.43 billion to settle with investors over its buyout of Merrill Lynch. Huh? Isn’t that the LAST crisis? What’s new about it? No added commentary, no perspective – just a stale two-day-old story that made me wonder if someone stuffed it under the heading by accident.
The same day I clicked on “Lifestyle” and got a list of trivia about “The Princess Bride.”Now, I love that movie, but come on, this and the BofA story don’t scream “you have to bookmark” me. Plus, can’t I get that trivia from imdb.com, and not from a business-centric web site?
For the time being, I’ll leave my biz-news bookmark alone and have Bloomberg, FT, WSJ.com, Reuters and AP in there.
I know better than to rely on first impressions, so I’ll give Quartz another shot. But for now and for me, it just doesn’t belong on the same stage as the others.