If there’s something to say for it so far, it’s that Quartz has some smart people on board: Zach Seward formerly of Nieman Journalism Lab and The Wall Street Journal, and Kevin Delaney, former WSJ reporter in Silicon Valley who later ran wsj.com before taking over The Atlantic’s floundering business project.
And it’s good that Quartz is a New Thing, unencumbered by legacy print strictures and freer to take risks. The website looks sharp, certainly, and journalism needs all the experimentation it can get.
But it’s disheartening to say the least that to find a business model for business journalism, The Atlantic believes it has to follow the reportorial mob already serving the elite’s elite, the “new class of global business executives who have more in common with each other than they do with their countrymen” (emphasis mine) and who want help “optimizing their businesses and their lives.” I mean, isn’t that what McKinsey and personal trainers are for?
What the post-national elite who run the world really need to read is aggressive, forthright business coverage that pops their gilded bubble, shows them the external costs of their actions, and holds them to account when they betray the public trust, which seems to happen a lot these days.
Maybe Quartz will do some of that too, but there is zero indication in the press release of any such intention—or that the business universe might be somewhat off-kilter.
The proof will be in the pudding, obviously, but Quartz is already limited by its own conception of itself.