Via USA Today, Rem Rieder writes: A new website totally focused on Ebola. Excerpt:
Lara Setrakian, the impresario behind the deeply immersive and critically acclaimed website Syria Deeply, is about to take the same approach to Ebola.
On Oct. 15, if not before, Setrakian will launch Ebola Deeply, which will feature original reporting about the frightening outbreak of the deadly disease and will aggregate the best reporting on the subject from elsewhere.
"We want to make sure that Ebola doesn't disappear when the next big story comes along," she says.
Setrakian, who says she's in talks with several high-profile partners for the initiative, plans to both mimic and build on the approach at Syria Deeply, which has several staffers outside of Syria and more than 20 correspondents inside the war-torn country providing original content. It also provides a one-stop amalgamation of reporting by other news outlets. The Ebola crisis is concentrated in a handful of West African nations, with Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone being the hardest hit.
"We want to integrate local voices to tell a bigger story while at the same time unifying (the coverage) that's out there," she says.
All of which is excellent news. Ebola is a complex and important story that needs constant scrutiny. It makes perfect sense as a target for Setrakian's immersive approach.
Setrakian, a former correspondent for ABC News and Bloomberg TV, had planned to take on climate change in her next endeavor, Arctic Deeply. But given the urgency of the Ebola exigency, she decided to shift gears.
Reporters in the affected countries came to her to express dissatisfaction about how the crisis is being covered, Setrakian says. They noted that many international journalists had left the region — covering such a contagious disease is an extremely dangerous proposition — and they increasingly felt they were on their own. "They needed allies," Setrakian says. She found that public health officials shared concerns about the coverage.
Ebola Deeply is very much a work in progress, with many details still to be worked out. That's in line with Setrakian's firm embrace of the concept of the lean start-up.
"You start with a minimum viable product, then you refine it and build on it," she says. "It doesn't have to be polished and perfected (at the outset) to be useful to our readers, as long as it's journalistically solid."
I look forward to Ebola Deeply with great interest. The link will take you to a page where you can sign up to receive a launch announcement and to alert others to the site. I'm already following @Eboladeeply on Twitter.