bobbie johnson

We're Now The Diffusion Network - Progress From Our London and Madrid Workshops

A social video wall in the office of El Pais in Madrid. Image: El Pais. 

A social video wall in the office of El Pais in Madrid. Image: El Pais. 

At our first workshop in London in September 2017, we started to get to know each other as members of the network; we learnt about our unique advantages and disadvantages as publishers, and started thinking about our media experiments.

Samia Saad from the Gates Foundation introduced us to the work of the Foundation and Gates' focus on global health and food security. 

We also had Nic Newman (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford), Bobbie Johnson (who had past lives at Medium and the Guardian and is now founder of Anxy Mag), and Tristan Ferne (BBC R&D lab) come and speak to us. Nic took us through his Journalism, Media and Technology Trends and Predictions, Bobbie spoke to us about his life as a media entrepreneur, and Tristan took us through some of his research on digital story formats for news

By February 2018, when we had our next workshop in Madrid (kindly hosted by member of the network Patricia Fernàndez de Lis at the offices of El Pais, with an excellent tour around the building as well), we'd started getting traction with syndication. We also had inspiration in the form of presentations from Gabe Stein (co-founder & CEO of Massive Science) and Sam Rigby (Deputy Growth Editor at Quartz). These presentations helped shape our discussions on the second day of the workshop, when we explicitly decided the two key audiences for our work as a network: syndicators (large publishers) and potential new members

For syndicators, we were clear that we wanted to build and manage relationships with syndication partners - over the last few months this has led to our content being syndicated in English in Quartz,, Huffington Post India, Hacking Finance and The Next Web, and in Spanish in El Pais. We also discussed using technology and data in interesting ways to measure our impact, using Massive Science's chatbot as inspiration. If you're a large publisher who would like to syndicate our content, let us know

For potential new members, we decided a good way to build our talent pipeline was by creating a strong new brand. You may recall that we launched as the Science Syndication Network, but after some discussion and debate with the members of the network, we decided that 'Diffusion' was a better description of what we wanted to do. And as part of that objective, you're now looking at our brand new website. If you're a science publication interested in becoming a member of our network, reach out!

We're also keen, as small publishers, to improve our craft and editorial process. Towards this end, we're working on specialist conference calls with experts to help us become better as publications and as a network. 

Lots more to come, stay tuned!