finding a new approach to journalism

Local site empowering consumers with more than just news

By Dan Barrett

With its unique proposition of merging consumer-orientated news with detailed product comparison charts, is built on the promise of data journalism that will also lay the data out for its audience to use as they make purchasing decisions.

Driving the news and information gathering that powers Finder is editor-in-chief Angus Kidman, a technology journalist who has empowered its readership with the ability to make informed purchasing decisions about loans, cards, savings, insurance, shopping, and technology.

While the merger of consumer news and comparison charts is different to the more traditional form of news reporting that he has practised for previous publications, Kidman is adamant that the strength of Finder is in how traditional it is as a news service. While it may lean heavily into editorial content, its strong reliance on data serves as the foundation for its reporting. Kidman explained that Finder is about presenting the positives and negatives of any product news to its readership.

“When something significant happens, we will point it out with the pros and the cons. It’s about saying to people, ‘Hey, this is the information you need if you’re thinking about making these decisions.’ In that way, they’re completely editorial. It’s not in the opinion zone. We’re trying to provide advice and all the relevant information to make a comparison. Introducing a personal voice into it doesn’t help. In that sense, it’s actually a very traditional media source.”

At Finder, the news serves as a launching pad for greater factual data analysis.

A recent article on the site laid out the pricing of the new Apple iPad Pro device. The article was a news piece that revealed a 12 November order date for the tablet computer, along with pricing information. Where an article on a news site may then beef up the article to include further information about the company and other related news that provides analytical information about the product, Finder adds deeper product information. The news article is then updated to ensure that anyone who lands on the web page is provided the most current news and information.

The iPad Pro article, written by established technology writer Alex Kidman, details local and international price-points, while comparing the prices and the functionality of the iPad Pro against other iPad devices.

Reporter Alex Kidman, the brother of site editor Angus Kidman, is a recent hire in an expansion Finder has undertaken in building up its writing team.

[blockquote style=”3″]Finder started in 2006 as a three-person operation. Today it boasts 50 staff and it’s still growing.[/blockquote]

Kidman insisted that the reason he hired his brother, Alex, had nothing to do with nepotism, but rather everything to do with experience. “The reason Alex Kidman was hired was that he has extensive experience in this space. He’s previously been editor of Gizmodo and CNET, so he’s got a lot of telco experience. In that area, we’ve decided we’re going to cover that thoroughly, so every time there is a new plan announcement or a new phone thing, he’s on that.”

This is the direction that Kidman is seeking to take the editorial content on Finder, building a team of reporters who know how to drill deep into product information and find relevant news.

Kidman said, “I want to see that happen across all of the niches that we cover. So, in credit cards, in home loans, in personal loans, and in our shopping section, all of those things have news elements and comparison elements. We just need to surface them more.”

Taking on the role at Finder is a departure for Kidman, who moved into the role after working for more traditional online news publications, including APC, Lifehacker, and PC Week Australia.

Working at a company like Finder wasn’t something Kidman had anticipated. Kidman explained, “I edited Lifehacker for seven years and I really enjoyed that job. Allure was a great place to work. When I started on Lifehacker, nobody had heard of it. When I left we’d got it up to 1.6 million uniques a month. It was a big deal. I was not one of those people who were actively out there looking for another job.”

Finder, however, offered some different professional challenges and benefits. The opportunity to manage a growing staff and mentor them provided an appealing opportunity.

“The thing that appealed to me was actually… there is already a large team of writers in there. There are 10 people and they’re all pretty good, but for the most part they’re relatively inexperienced. They’re either just out of uni or have worked for a year or two and have never had detail on how to write better. The idea of being able to pass on my editorial experience and teach people was appealing. I don’t know anywhere else I could have gone where there would be 10 journalists that I get to train. That’s really very unusual”.

“I’ve always had that bossy, teacher-like nature,” Kidman joked.

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