Every week we pull together articles on a particular topic to help guide you through it. Our Collections range widely, from ‘Nato: 70 & beyond’ to ‘The future of food’.
They follow a basic three-act structure. Set up the situation, introduce a problem, and then discuss potential solutions or possible developments.
In this blog post, I want to give you another look at how we do things here at Mogul News. After last week’s post about selecting stories, this week we’ll be taking a gander at how we put Collections together.
Picking a topic
It all starts with identifying themes and threads that come up in different articles across a long period of time. This can be related to one event, such as ‘Facebook’s blockchain bet’ which covered the initial announcement of the Libra coin. It can also be about general trends being reported, like ‘Challenger banks’ when we covered the rise of fintech startups.
These ideas are contributed by everyone at Mogul News. At weekly meetings, we discuss what we’ve seen in the news and what trends or topics we think are important. While it is nice to tie the Collections on trends into a topical event, think ‘Nato: 70 & beyond’, this isn’t a requirement.
We provide coverage of a range of topics, from politics and global affairs to business and technology. Our Collections reflect that. There isn’t a hard and fast rule that makes us cycle through these categories, but we keep it in mind when deciding upon a Collection.
Once we have settled on a topic to cover, I get down to the research.
Building the Collection
To get the ball rolling, I read up about the subject and discover how events developed. I figure out what the key points are, where important turning points were, and the causes behind them.
I read through the coverage from the publishers we have agreements with. A thread starts to develop. I select the best reporting based on that, the stories that highlight these developments best.
Each Collection starts with a cornerstone article. It is one which will introduce the topic, provide background and create a foundation that the rest of the Collection builds off. I’d recommend you read the first article in any Collection to get that base of understanding, especially if it’s a topic that you’re unfamiliar with.
For Collections that cover news stories, rather than trends and issues, the three-act structure is simple. They start with stories covering the initial push that put things into motion. A good rule of thumb is to choose the event that switched moved the story in an unexpected direction. In our Collection on Venezuela, this was the economic collapse of the country.
After the initial push, the Collections consider more recent developments, the reaction to the initial push, and the concluding section on how the story might develop in the future.
For Collections looking at aspects of our modern world, rather than an unravelling story, things get more complicated. The cornerstone article becomes more important in these cases. A great example is from ‘The future of food’. The first article there was a broad look at the main issues involved. From there, the articles focus on particular issues. For example, we looked at both how the production of food has to change in the future, how vegetarian options can help, and what role genetically modified crops can play.
The final checks
Once the list of articles is decided, I go through it to make sure it flows. A sense check so that there are no false starts or dead ends. My introduction to the Collection is there to provide some initial context and bring up the main questions raised and answered by it.
The articles are uploaded, along with the description, pushed into the app and then we let you know that a new Collection is ready.
A lot of work goes into putting the Collections together. It is work well worth doing. Our curated Collections are there to let you understand a topic, to go beyond the headlines and explore an issue in-depth.
But what do you think? What has been your favourite Collection? And is there something we can do better?