Why WIRED debuted a big story on Apple News
Visitors to WIRED's website this morning were greeted by a titanic profile of Bjarke Ingels, the architect behind several monoliths that will reshape New York City's skyline. Running nearly 5,000 words and illustrated with full-screen photographs, it's the kind of longread that makes a splash as soon as it hits the Web.
But in this case, the story isn't exactly new. For WIRED readers who updated their iPhones to iOS 9 last week, it might even be old news. That's because the magazine first published the story on Apple News before the weekend, several days before the story was released online and more than a week before it will go to print.
The exclusive release represents an effort on WIRED's part to cater to Apple News users, some that might not already be familiar with the magazine, said Mark McClusky, head of operations at WIRED.
"The potential upsides are introducing people who might not be familiar with our content to our content," he said. "And introducing people who are familiar with our content on different platforms to a new platform."
Publishing the story exclusively on Apple News was relatively simple for WIRED, which has controls built into its content management system that determine whether a story is published on the app, McClusky said. The magazine uses a parser that converts the WordPress text into Apple News Format, which arranges the stories on the app. Dozens of publishers joined WIRED on Apple News when the app debuted last week, and the tech company is accepting applications from news outlets who want to contribute stories.
On Friday, McClusky noted the app was still in its infancy and its potential as a vehicle for breaking news remained untested. WIRED plans to publish most stories on its website and Apple News concurrently, but there could be other exceptions.
Like many news organizations, WIRED has employed new storytelling formats as different channels for news distribution have emerged. Earlier this year, the magazine used the livestreaming app Periscope to cover the opening of a "Star Wars" exhibition in London.
The sheer number of people using Apple devices means there's a potentially vast audience for WIRED's journalism on Apple News, a number that's only likely to increase as more users upgrade to iOS 9, McClusky said. Publishing on the app is an extension of the magazine's long-held practice of "windowing content," breaking stories on the Web days before the magazine arrives on the doorsteps of subscribers.
WIRED has big digital and print audiences already, McClusky said, and using Apple News is another way to start conversations that don't depend on the mail.
“We’re trying to match the pace of our output more to the realities of the world, and where our audience is shifting."