Depending on your preferred interpretation of the facts, the first newspaper was printed circa 1605. Before that, there were newsbooks and as far back as 1556, the Venetian government published a monthly “thing” for which readers paid a small coin called a “gazetta,” hence the word, gazette. But that’s all ancient history. This is about Circa, an app for iPhone that wants to reinvent the way “printed” news stories are presented for consumption on mobile devices. The people behind Circa want journalists to reinvent the way news is presented on digital, mobile devices. Up to this point, the digital news experience isn’t dramatically different from the bygone days of newspaper writing. The style follows an upside down pyramid where the most important facts are presented in the first 50 words and more details follow. Of course, the pyramid structure can be traced back to the days of news wires where the connection could break down before all details were sent.
Circa folks believe that digital news being consumed on mobile devices such as iPhones should be structured for users on the go. Users read news on their iPhones at train stations, in taxi cabs and while waiting at the doctor’s office. Perhaps, some even read while driving, though we don’t, and we don’t advocate this method either. In the Circa app, the focus is on just the facts; the what, when, why, where and whom. The big idea in this app is that instead of a feature length story, there are cards with the basics and maps for context. A reader can go as deep or as shallow as needed. The app also allows users to follow several stories and each time a story is updated, the user gets a push notification. Not all stories update frequently in the same time slot so users who follow many stories aren’t necessarily inundated with notifications. Circa markets itself as, “news without the filler, fluff and commentary.”