As David Cohn exits, Circa looks to double its editorial team

October 3, 2014
Category: Uncategorized

Circa’s chief content officer David Cohn will exit the company after two-and-a-half years for a job at a broadcast network, CEO Matt Galligan announced to his staff Friday.

With Cohn’s departure (no specific date on that yet), editor-in-chief Anthony De Rosa will assume full responsibility for editorial operations at Circa. De Rosa was brought on board in May 2013, and Cohn’s impending move — and last week’s launch of the latest edition of the Circa app — made this a good time to streamline how the news team is organized, Galligan said.

“I think it is one of the most interesting endeavors in journalism right now, bar none,” Cohn said of Circa, adding that it has led the growing movement of structured journalism.

Cohn has written about the goals of the Circa mobile app and its “atoms” of news for Poynter.

Larger editorial team in New York

Leadership will be more clearly defined going forward, Galligan said — and it will be based in New York. Editorial operations are mostly split between San Francisco and New York now — with two international members on the editorial team — but Circa will soon focus more on the East Coast, where the majority of the news cycle tends to happen, Galligan said.

Evan Buxbaum has been promoted to deputy editor to oversee Circa’s West Coast news team, while Daniel Bentley will also take on a senior editor role to aid De Rosa in New York.

Circa has an “immediate desire to grow 2x or more,” Galligan told me. That doubling of the editorial staff — which stands at 11 now — could potentially mean new verticals like politics, sports, and business. The company is also having “active conversations” with potential partners about adapting Circa’s next-generation CMS for other news organizations, but Galligan wouldn’t reveal any specifics yet.

The company also still isn’t ready to say anything about audience metrics like daily users, but Galligan did tell me 50 percent more people are entering the app every day since the launch of the third edition of Circa for iOS and Android last week. Morning app traffic has more than doubled, which Galligan attributed to Circa’s new “Daily Brief” feature.

Full website on the way

Galligan and De Rosa did hint that a forthcoming Circa website could be very different from the mobile app. “On the phone, it doesn’t really make any sense to do any long-form,” De Rosa said. “The web will allow us to go a little deeper and longer.”

The website’s role will be as a funnel for the app experience, Galligan said, noting that Circa had a story on the Scottish referendum go viral on Reddit recently (individual stories are currently available on the Web and linked to by Circa’s social media accounts, but there’s no homepage or navigation).

So Circa obviously doesn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to better reach readers on social, which is increasingly important to any mobile strategy (as of Friday afternoon, Circa has about 25,800 Twitter followers and 8,200 Facebook likes). But, Galligan said, “Circa as a company will still have its main focus on apps.”

Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly said Circa had 13,000 followers. That’s actually how many accounts it’s following; Circa’s actual follower count is 25,800 as of this posting.


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