IJR Debuts “Experience The News” & Membership Pilot Program

Short film chronicles year-long journey toward new editorial direction, new membership program

ALEXANDRIA, VA. April 10, 2019 – Today, Independent Journal Review (IJR) released Experience the News, a six-minute film that chronicles the year-long process behind its new editorial mission and pilot membership program. The film gives viewers an inside look at several aspects of the process, including listening sessions with readers across the country and survey results from research that IJR conducted to better understand what readers want from the news outlets they consult. IJR’s pilot membership program, also announced today, was the direct result of feedback received during that process.

IJR Short Film: Experience The News

Experience The News gives everyone a behind-the-scenes look at how we are approaching a major shift in IJR’s culture and mission,” said IJR President Camden Stuebe. “About eighteen months ago, it became clear that the company wouldn’t be able to achieve its mission if we didn’t rethink our position and practices. Going forward, we will help our readers navigate the chaotic world of online news by serving as a one-stop source of reliable information about both sides of important issues.”

CEO Alex Skatell added, “At IJR, we achieved our original goal, which was to become the best at telling news stories on social media. But being the best at social media doesn’t always lead to the best practices. So, we did a lot of soul-searching, a process that started by listening to our industry colleagues, our readers, and people we hope will become IJR readers. The film captures that process and the conclusions it helped us draw.”

Key highlights from the film include:

  • Actions taken by CEO Alex Skatell to make IJR truly independent, including the spin out and sale of IMGE, a previously wholly owned digital advocacy agency;
  • Results from IJR’s reader surveys, including the finding that 91 percent of Americans believe it’s important for news outlets to present opposing perspectives and 52 percent of IJR readers view this as “extremely important.”
  • Footage from focus groups across the country and from interviews with Skatell, Stuebe, and IJR’s new Editor-at-large Shushannah Walshe.

To view the film, please visit ijr.com/first500. Additional information about the IJR Readership Survey is available by contacting the IJR offices.

IJR Membership Program: The F.I.R.S.T. 500

Independent Journal Review (IJR) also began accepting sign-ups for the pilot of its new membership program. The initiative launched today will give 500 IJR readers the opportunity to participate in the development and testing of new platform features, news products, and services.  

“We decided to launch the IJR membership program in response to feedback from our reader surveys and focus groups,” said IJR President Camden Stuebe. “We know that our readers want help navigating a chaotic online news environment and want to be part of story development. We know they want to learn about opposing perspectives. The F.I.R.S.T. 500 continues the conversation we’ve been having with readers so they can tell us how they want to experience the news.”

“IJR has always been a leader when it comes to using innovative technologies to tell stories,” said IJR CEO Alex Skatell. “The difference now is that rather than developing a product or service and then making it available to our readers, we’re going to be taking them on that journey with us. They will be able to influence the direction of our products and services – from technical features to story topic selection – in real time.

Readers can sign up for The F.I.R.S.T. 500 pilot program via an application at the IJR website. The program will initially be free; IJR will seek pilot participants’ feedback to determine a future pricing structure.

Key benefits for participants in The F.I.R.S.T. 500 program include:

  • Survey opportunities to share feedback and interests with the site’s editorial team;
  • Early access to new IJR.com website features and site layout; and
  • The ability to pitch story ideas and ask the IJR newsroom questions.

Interested readers can apply to the F.I.R.S.T. 500 program via an application on the company’s website. Readers who are not among the initial 500 sign-ups will be placed on a waitlist for the future membership program.

About Independent Journal Review

Founded in 2012, Independent Journal Review is a news site that provides readers with reliable information about both sides of every issue. IJR also invites readers to experience the news through a blend of products and services that enable them to actively participate in story selection, development, and influence.  IJR is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.


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Seems a little ambitious, considering that the current website is littered with bugs.

Edit: I just tried to watch their video, and it was so choppy that it looked like a slideshow with audio. I’m sure that the reason this new trial is capped at 500 users is because that’s about as much traffic as they can host. Good luck…

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