First of all, if you have auto-update off or have not updated your Atlas News app, go to the app stores and update now.
This week we announced our new App update and now we are here to share where Atlas News has been the past few months and where we are headed in the future. We want to make this clear to begin with before you read the rest:
- Our readers and subscribers (you) are the most important thing to us. Everything we have done and will do is for you. We want to grow Atlas News to what YOU want.
- We have spent (and I won’t disclose the full amount) at least over $100k so far to build what we have built. Yes, seriously. Not a random number we made up.
- We are still 100% completely owned by the Atlas original team. No outside capital, our own personal money we have put into building what we have built. So trust us when we say we believe in this and want to build the best news organization for you.
This article will break down the details of our new App release and our vision for what Atlas News is and where we are headed.
Why We Are Doing What We Are Doing:
For many reasons. The first is because we love it. Genuinely. For 8+ years we have been building Atlas News into what it is now out of a sheer passion for doing it. We haven’t taken a dime over those years and have grown to what we are now just because we loved it. We decided to move into a website and an app out of necessity. The quality and content of journalism over the years has absolutely gone downhill and tanked. Without going into detail, you know it has. We want to provide top-quality news and journalism, that you have come to love over the years, at a much larger scale.
Aside from wanting to provide quality journalism, we had to shift our content mostly off platform from Instagram because of their censorship. We built TWO Instagram accounts with over 300k followers each, got shut down and deactivated, and had to restart all over again. Which you all obviously know because you are here reading this. All while providing limited content, to hedge against getting banned yet again. And merging those two points of wanting to provide quality news and journalism at scale, while only being able to give such little content to not get banned–to remain alive, we HAD to create our own platform.
- The reason we are building the Atlas News platform is so that we can expand further into what YOU want. More articles, podcasts, documentaries, interviews, and the content you want. All in one place.
- We chose to have subscriptions instead of being supported by ad revenue. We don’t want to water down the brand or plague our content with so many ads you can barely read. Having subscriptions, it allows us to take that revenue and absolutely pump out as much content as we can. With ad-supported, we wouldn’t have been able to control what you see or when you do. Trust us, we looked at this model and you would HATE it. It looked terrible.
What We Have Been Working On:
Over the last 6 months, we have been heavily working on the backend of what Atlas News is, and spending countless hours and tens-of-thousands of dollars building our final product.
During that time we have effectively been in “BETA” mode. Testing what works within the new app, how content is deployed, what content we want to make, feedback from you, and many other things behind the scenes.
We didn’t want to just throw up a crappy app, leave it broken or missing a ton of features and just say “alright, well I guess we will just leave it like that”.
We wanted a top-of-the-line product, an industry-leading app.
The first version of the app that we released had many flaws, many broken things, and missing features. Since it was not up to our own standards, we turned off subscriptions until we could make it as close to perfect.
This is something we are extremely excited about and looking to make a huge part of Atlas going forward. Over the years we have strictly just written the news. During that time, many of you commented or messaged us asking to do Podcasts or documentaries. It was always something we considered doing and planned to do, but just never to this point was something we could do. We didn’t want to release a subpar show or documentary, so we held off. Now–we are doing it.
- Podcasts – multiple shows being recorded, tons of episodes featuring big names you’ve heard of in the industry, and people who you’ve never heard of but are heavily involved around the world. Podcasts are going to be a big part of AN+ and we are excited about what’s coming.
- Documentaries – obviously this is a huge, huge thing for us to do. We have arguably had more people asking for documentaries than anything over the years. As part of our vision, we want to be more than just headlines. Documentaries and Docu-series allow us to dive deeper into certain topics, areas of the world, and groups both large and small. We want this to be a driving factor for Atlas going forward. And to set the stage, we are going BIG in this area. Not 1-2 a year, but our aim is to provide 1-2 a month. First documentary announcement next week.
What’s New In The App:
- News Articles: These articles are the standard, normal articles that you see in other apps and news companies. Longer form, more researched, and with more content to them. Articles that have way more of a background and tell a story from a context perspective. This is what you have seen from us over the last 6 months, and will still be around.
- Briefs: Our take on a Twitter-style feed of News. Stories that are breaking, easier to read, and a way for us to deliver the day’s stories in a timeline manner. Much like how we have posted on social media. Stories that are quick, bite-sized, and worth reporting but are not as long as our more in-depth articles.
- Atlas News+: AN+ is where our podcast shows will live, as well as our new docu-series, documentaries, and interview-style media content. Our goal is to merge what you love from companies like VICE News, and mix it with quality reporting. First podcast show and episode is out now, and trailer for documentaries.
- Comments: This is also something you have all been asking for and something we are investing into and building at the moment. Transparently, it is expensive to build. With a standard app that we have, delivering articles is just updated through an RSS feed. (Look that up to understand). However, with comments, that is a whole new world. Currently, your apps dont need to communicate with each other. They all connect to our system to update the feed, that’s it. But with comments, all your apps have to communicate in the background in real-time to populate comments on specific articles. Furthermore, as we have said, we wanted the best product on the market. None of this trash “you comment and you get notified through email” like other apps work, but then you have to scroll back to that article to comment again. The comment section we are building is MUCH MORE robust. An entire notification center within the app, forums, follow members and writers. Comments, replies, voting on comments (and yes it will actually show the vote count because–unfiltered), and more. All sent to a notification center within the app like a social media platform. And much much more. We are currently building it and writing the code. Coming in the next couple of months, as fast as developers can write the code.
- Merch: Up to this point, we haven’t released much merch. We have been focused on building our core product, and over the years just have not been heavy on the merch side of things. Still, a lot of you have asked for it. Our merch tab will house all the products we release in the future, only available to those who have the app and for a limited time. Again, we arent a merch company so we won’t have a free-standing store you can order from any time. This tab will serve as a place to order collaborations between us and companies, and products that are only available in limited quantities. Atlas News Dirt bike? Hatchet? Zippo Lighter? Stay tuned…
That being said – we are pumped for where Atlas News is headed. We know that asking you to subscribe is a lot to ask. We chose for subscribers and not ad-supported to keep the quality you want. You have never seen ads before from us, and we didn’t want to start adding so many where it’s impossible to read or consume our content. Some of you will hate us for it, hate subscriptions, and some of you will leave and won’t follow us anymore. We get that. Understand this though:
We are not here for the money grab or the cash-out. We aren’t here to change what we have been doing, but just do it 100x the level we have been doing it at–while adding way more content and features. We would rather have the dedicated followers and subscribers we do and people that really believe in what we are doing, and then provide TRULY industry-leading content and engagement. We aren’t for everyone, we are for the Atlas News community.
Thanks, and welcome to the future of Atlas News.