Newslines, our application that uses NewsBlocks data, was showcased in a full-page Q&A interview in The National, a Scottish newspaper. Some highlights:

WHY DID YOU SET UP THE BUSINESS?

The idea for Newslines came out of a fact-checking project we had before. The problem was we couldn’t keep track of the timeline of events. Looking at the order in which things happened can give a more accurate overview of a story or topic. I’m from Glasgow but in 1989 I moved to Japan.

I set up a free magazine called Metropolis and it became Japan’s number one English magazine. I ran it for 14 years with my partner. In 2000 I set up japantoday.com, the No. 1 news and discussion site about Japan in English. In 2007 we sold that businesses and moved to the US where we ran a private karaoke room business. We moved back to Glasgow in 2016 and that’s when we really got Newslines off the ground.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Our aim is to summarise all of the world’s news – past to present. We distribute our news through partners, such as social media fan pages and share advertising revenues with the page owners. People can sign up to be the next set of contributors. They tell us what they are interested in and we help them produce a timeline along the way. Anyone can come in for free and read the timeline or edit it.

HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM COMPETING BUSINESSES?

Newslines take the best parts of daily newspapers, Facebook and Wikipedia, and combines them to create a new kind of media, based on news timelines. Facebook used to do a lot of news but now its model has changed, so where do people go for news? People can get a left-wing view in the Guardian and a right-wing view if they read the Telegraph but where is the unbiased reference point?

WHAT IS YOUR TARGET MARKET?

Everyone. People can use the service to record the news history of any topic. [Newslines] is basically Wikipedia for news. The most complete news topic we have is of the UFC fighter, Conor McGregor. We have 2000 news summaries on him making it the most complete news source about him in the world.

People’s understanding of how the media works is much better than before and they can identify media bias better. The idea is that we collect news on a topic and strip it of all bias. People are more aware of fake news and are looking for news sources with less bias in them but that’s really hard to find.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT RUNNING THE BUSINESS?

News is always exciting, but I love the idea of creating unbiased news reference. I enjoy the challenge of trying to figure out how to grow, using new technology. One of the challenges is to get more people involved and get people to build up Newslines about different people.

WHERE DO YOU HOPE THE BUSINESS WILL BE IN 10 YEARS’ TIME?

In 10 years we aim to have a global news archive everyone can reference.

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