Tuesday 21 May 2019

Online news service Kinzen launched by journalists Mark Little and Aine Kerr

Kinzen has been launched by Mark Little and Aine Kerr
Kinzen has been launched by Mark Little and Aine Kerr
Former RTÉ journalist Mark Little. Photo: Tom Burke
Aine Kerr, Neva
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

A Dublin-based online news service called Kinzen has been launched by Mark Little and Aine Kerr.

Little is a former RTE news journalist, founder of Storyful and Twitter Ireland boss. Kerr is a former Irish Independent journalist and Facebook executive.

The duo are joined by Paul Watson, who worked with them at Storyful.

The new service, which aims to develop as a subscription news app, wants to sift out “junk” and promote high-grade news and information from around the web.

It plans to do this through the service’s users, around whom the system is based. Users will share and discuss ‘quality’ news links in what amounts to a top-down, ‘curated’ organisation: users’ motivation for doing this might be borne of a sense of expertise or community.

“Just over a year ago, we created NevaLabs with the goal of empowering people who want to take control of their news experience,” said a company statement.

“We soon realised that we were not just building another news app. We were building a news community with a radically different approach than the social platforms that have come to dominate our experience of news.”

The service, which was called Neva Labs up until today, will be structured in a way to allow for a personalised news feed, based on a user’s preferences and what others are interested in.

The website will be free to use for the first few months. Early next year, the app will be launched on a subscription basis: €5 per month is a likely fee level, according to the founders, in tandem with what is commonly charged on systems such as Patreon.

While the service’s founders are emphasising a clampdown on false news and dishonest sourcing, they say that they will not police the tone or content shared from across the political spectrum.

With no ads, it is being styled as an antidote to social network news delivery which, the founders say, is based on grabbing and holding a person’s attention for as long as possible, regardless of content.

The founders, who worked together at Storyful, also say that current news publishers may be interested in Kinzen, possibly in subscription partnerships.

“Our mission is to put every individual in control of a daily news routine that respects their time, rewards their trust and broadens their minds,” said the company statement.

“The Kinzen community will grow out of the positive choices of its members. Their feedback will guide technology. Those who promote shared facts and valued sources will be rewarded. Privacy and security are central to our work. We won’t depend on advertisers. Our only agenda is yours. The news is broken. Let’s fix it, together. Let’s start again.”

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