23 Dec Indie Media Startup The News Lens Wants To Be A Balanced Voice Of Reason For Asia
Since launching two years ago, Taiwan-based media startup The News Lens has gained a readership of five million readers a month by presenting a levelheaded alternative to the country’s scandal-obsessed newspapers. Now the site, which is backed by North Base Media and 500 Startups, hopes its focus on balanced news reports and analysis will help it gain an international readership.
The News Lens plans to focus building its readership in Hong Kong, where it already has an office, Southeast Asia before tackling mainland China. It’s also managed to build an audience of about 500,000 monthly visitors outside of Asia with its international portal, which has articles in English and Chinese.
Joey Chung, who founded The News Lens with current chief content officer Mario Yang, says The News Lens wants to become “the millennial voice for greater China.” This doesn’t mean that it only targets readers in their teens and twenties, but people who are most comfortable finding information from online sources.
Of course, The News Lens faces the same challenge that every other online media outlet does: figuring out how to stand out without resorting to clickbait. Current headlines on its international site include “Nobel Prize Laureate Suggests Taiwan To Levy Carbon Tax And Eliminate Nuclear Power” and “China Holds One-Fourth Of Imprisoned Journalists Worldwide,” which may seem dry, but are a refreshing change for people tired of the sensationalist headlines in many Taiwanese and Hong Kong news outlets.
The News Lens makes articles about heavy topics more accessible by including infographics, short boxes with summaries of the most important information, and audio narrations. Most of the sites videos are short—under two minutes long—and it also jumps onto new social media platforms as quickly as possible. For example, The News Lens official Line account, which it started three months ago, already has close to 10,000 followers.