Quartz Premieres Interactive Newsletter, Obsession

Digital news publisher Quartz launched its first interactive email newsletter, Quartz Obsession, on Monday.

The debuting newsletter complements the Daily Brief, Quartz’s morning digest of important news and events first launched five years ago. Daily Brief discusses daily news events, while Obsession will delve into a single topic each weekday afternoon.

Topics range from science, technology and business to consumer lifestyle, culture and global affairs, according to the publisher. The goal of the email newsletter is to investigate a single news topic and explain its historical, cultural, and economic significance. Quartz’s preliminary lineup of stories, pending any changes due to breaking news, includes bitcoin mines, polyester, fatbergs, UN interpreters, and the TR-808 synthesizer.

Email Marketing Daily received a preview edition of the Quartz Obsession newsletter on Friday. It provided a thorough background of the Cassini Mission, highlighting why and how the space probe has advanced our understanding of the planet Saturn.   

The newsletter was designed with a series of multimedia cards in different formats. For example, one card included a trivia question about who the scientist Cassini is named after. Another listed Cassini’s “greatest hits,” or biggest contributions to science, such as the discovery of six new moons and the fact that the moon Titan has seasons, oceans, and some of the same chemical molecules that sustain life on Earth. Other cards included videos, gifs, and charts that provide additional information about the NASA mission.

Adam Pasick, push news editor at Quartz, says the intention is for the multimedia elements to "feel natural and unobtrusive, not to get in the way of the reading experience." Pasick says there is more interactive and customized emails could be created down the line as Quartz learns more about the types of content readers are engaging with.

“After five years of working on the Daily Brief, we were interested in seeing what we could do to push the medium forward a bit, and creating a more web-like experience that was still part of our users’ everyday email routines,” he says. “We will use this as a testbed for future products -- this is really only scratching the surface of what we think is possible.”

Daily Brief first launched five years ago, and has since grown to more than 332,000 subscribers while maintaining open rates hovering around 40%. Quartz also offers three weekly email newsletters -- Quartz Africa Weekly Brief, index, and Quartzy -- and its email products have more than 495,000 subscribers in total. 

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