More than two out of three Americans report feeling exhausted by the news. The emotional burden of anxiety leads to learned helplessness, which impacts civic engagement and readership. Sift was created as a response to that — a sort of “news therapy” that wants to help readers be informed without these negative feelings, but instead to feel empowered.
Why it matters:
It’s no secret that there’s a deepening political divide, and people often feel overwhelmed by the news ecosystem. Sift believes that the media industry is trapped in a broken advertising model that incentivises the wrong things; and social media sharing simply bolsters confirmation bias. The Sift app was launched as an experiment to help with this.
The first version of the Sift app focused on one topic: immigration policy. It’s a complex and relevant topic, with nearly a third of the U.S. population being first or second generation immigrants.
Sift coverage of contentious topics is intentional, as the idea is to create a space for people to pause, reflect, and better understand the topic and the world. They do this by taking such complex topics and breaking them down into factual stories told with progressive data visualization. Each assertion made by Sift is source-verified, while avoiding hyperbole, partisanship and aggression. These stories put the reader in charge of stepping through the different layers of an issue — and to let them check their own assumptions and unconscious biases.