Knight News Challange: Heather, Alex, Jill, Misba

                                                               Tally: Choose Your News

Requested Amount: $10,000

Time Frame: 2 months

Project description:

When Tally is opened on any smartphone, tablet, or computer, a homepage containing a variety of news articles appears. The individual news article posts contain a picture relating to the content of the article with a few words describing what the article is about. As you scroll through the articles, you can ‘like’ them or share them to twitter, Facebook, or to friends also using the application. As more people like or share an article, it gets “upvoted” and has a better chance of being seen by a greater number of people. There are three icons at the top of the view window. One takes you to your personal page where you can choose to have a profile picture and short description of yourself. The rest of your personal page contains all the articles you have liked in descending chronological order. The next icon offers the option to group the articles present on Tally by category (science, health, food, environment, finance, beauty, crime, celebrity news, etc.), location (articles that are local to your area), or as “most popular” (the articles with the most likes and shares). The third icon takes you to a page where you can see all the articles that have been shared with you by other friends using the application.

When journalists and members of the news industry upload a story, they place the story into one of the aforementioned categories, and then select from a list of subcategories within the category of their choosing. Tally uses these categories and subcategories to keep track of which articles you consistently like. Tally keeps track of the feeds you scroll through and upvote most. The app progressively learns what articles you like and alters the articles presented to your homepage accordingly.

Tally will be environmentally friendly as it will allow users to access articles online without the need for printed copies. Viewed right from your smartphone or computer, the application works as simple as all of your other favorite apps. No need for newspapers or magazines – Tally offers all of your news in one place. If you are used to using large news networks and publications to view your news, such as CNN, National Geographic, or Fox News, as many people are, the news stories from all of these publications could potentially be available for viewing on Tally. This takes away the need to have multiple different news applications on your phone, tablet, or computer, saving space and time. Since Tally is available on most mobile devices, that a majority of potential Tally users already have, the application will not require new materials to be removed from the earth.

Tally can also be environmentally oriented as it allows professionals in environmental fields to view all the latest environmental news in one place. They can share environmental articles they find especially newsworthy with their colleagues using the various methods mentioned above. In this way, Tally can help expand and connect the world of environmental news.

Unmet need:

Tally allows the user to have a news-article-only feed and alters the articles presented to match a user’s individual interests. Tally allows the user to create an online collection of articles they find interesting or valuable and creates and easy way for those articles to be shared on Tally and on other social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumbler. Tally allows the user to quickly and easily find articles in a particular category, or lets them find articles that are relevant to the area that they are in or interested in looking at. The user can also choose to see what the rest of the Tally community finds particularly interesting or what news is “big” at the time. Tally will be a strict news source, meaning that users of the application will not be able to post ‘statuses’ or personal ‘updates.’ These personal updates would clutter the news feed and shy other users away from the application. Tally users are not able to “follow” or “friend” other Tally users in the same way as Twitter or Facebook, but are able to view other Tally user’s news feeds and share articles with other users they know, if they desire.


          Brianna Despenza says, “I don’t seek out news, news finds me.” She likes celebrity news and crime news to “avoid murderous spots.” Our application would put all of Brianna’s news articles of interest in one. She could use the “local news” option to find local crime stories and avoid “murderous spots.”

Felicia Knox says she would watch more news if, “it was less depressing.” She could use the category icon of our application to select news topics with less depressing information (ex. avoid the crime category).

Zoe Goodrow says she wishes that news were more accessible. She says, “I look for social issues and science things in the news…the news affects my daily life because I always share the interesting things I’ve learned with other people and have great discussions about it.”  Tally would allow Zoe to have access to relevant news and have enlightening discussions with people in her network.

Sola Muno says, “I don’t watch much Television. I consume news from my phone. I had Yik Yak but deleted it. I keep my eyes and ears open for news about art, culture, and French stuff.” Tally will provide Sola with news in one place that is easily accessible.

How big is the market:

The market for Tally includes all students and professionals interested in having access to new articles located in one place and the ability to view articles that fall specifically within their interests. The upvoting and sharing option is a great way to attain a wider audience to view the articles. When articles are shared on other social media sites they will have a “shared from Tally” notification with our application’s logo. This will invite more people to use the application – creating a stronger brand with a wider network of users. The market will grow as the app gains popularity.


Tally’s biggest competitors are Facebook, Pinterest, and Yik Yak. Facebook allows users to have a profile page and includes a homepage with a feed that users can ‘like’ or share. Facebook, unlike Tally, includes various kinds of posts with only a small percentage of posts being news related. Tally allows users to view solely news related posts, without being cluttered by personal status updates or personal pictures. Facebook also lacks the ability to keep a running list of posts a user has liked. The application allows users to create an online collection or database of the news articles they’ve liked. This collection is similar to pinterest, however, Tally is “news only.” Yik Yak allows users to see a list of comments added to a feed by local users. It uses “geo data” to allow users to see posts from their local area, or choose another area they interested in. Tally also allows users to have the option to view local posts, a, however the posts on Tally are news articles and not personal opinions. The application allows users to see what newsworthy events are going on around them and in categories that are of interest.

Financially sustainable:

Funding, after grant money is gone, will come from journalists and news teams that want more attention for their stories. Tally offers monthly or yearly subscriptions allowing journalists and news teams to publish stories to the application. Funding will also come from advertisements on the bottom or sides of each news article appearing on the app. The advertisements will not be distracting or annoying for the reader, they will simply be clickable. More advertisements will be added to the application as it grows in popularity.  Users of the app will never be asked to pay for their use because that would decrease the size of the market for Tally substantially. News is available for free in thousands of different mediums. Tally is best suited to be a free app supported by news sources paying for their stories to be published on the app and supported by advertisements.

Why Us?: 

Our diverse team is ideal to build Tally. We each have a unique background that contributes to various aspects of the project’s development. Our team consists of an engineer who is familiar with application design, an environmental science major, and a screen arts major with advertising experience. Our team’s combined talents will support our project from the early development stages until it is launched and monetized. We will be creating a polished user interface that is functional and easy on the eyes. We are confident that we have a strong collaborative dynamic that will lead to a fully integrated application.


About jillmatthijs

Program in the Environment major, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology minor.

3 Responses to “Knight News Challange: Heather, Alex, Jill, Misba”

  1. This is a really cool idea! I like how it’s so personal in that it tracks what you upvote and sends you stories based on your personal preferences. Your report is very specific and your team has clearly thought out this idea well. It might help to explain a little more about how or why journalists and news teams would want to pay a yearly subscription to post their news there. Besides that small nuance, I think this looks great!

  2. This is a good idea 🙂 It’s a little similar to our Knight Challenge idea as well if you want to check our’s: the NAPP (new’s app) and see if it helps you brainstorm further. Have you checked out Flipboard as a competitor? It does sound a little similar. Is there a better/more ways to personalize your application? You might want more money and time to develop the app. However, I’m also a fan of an application that can compile all the news sources into one place. Good start! I like the idea of paying a low cost subscription to help fund the project.

  3. Interesting idea! I like the way you are combining some features of Yik Yak with some features of Twitter. I would say this is more similar to Twitter than Facebook.

    I think you’re overlooking some competitors, like Google News and Reddit and even stumbleupon. Also, similar apps have been tried and failed. One was called FLUD. If you were to take this idea further, it might be interesting for you to track down someone from the FLUD team and see what they learned. Why did they fail?

    I think one challenge you would face is getting journalism organizations to share their content with you. They want to gather a community on their own apps or sites. I don’t know if these organizations would be willing to pay you to attract clicks to their stories. Perhaps this strategy might work, if the audience for Tally was especially tantalizing – such as young people or rich people or powerful people.

    Another challenge for you would be gathering an audience for Tally. There are millions of apps, probably hundreds of news-related ones. How would you market Tally? What would convince people to use your app instead of something more familiar, like Google News or Reddit?

    When you report on your interviews, it would be nice to know a bit more about these people,: ages, occupations, where they live.

    I like the way you’re thinking here. If you can figure out some good responses to the issues raised in this comment thread, you’ll be onto something great.

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