Want the latest news but find yourself getting lost in dozens of different websites? SpotlightNews makes it easy to stay informed with everything from world news to sports highlights. Through an exciting new deal, JHU students now have access to this service. We took a moment to discuss with creator Tamer Morsy.
Thank you, Tamer, for taking a few moments to speak with us. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am the co-founder and CEO of SpotlightNews and a proud Johns Hopkins Blue Jay. Prior to beginning my graduate work in data science at Johns Hopkins, I attended Temple University and Lehigh University. I am a former Nasdaq Milestone Maker, Forbes 30 under 30, Temple University 30 under 30, and Bisciotti Award recipient.
Tell us a bit about SpotlightNews! Who is it for and what does it do?
SpotlightNews is a mobile and desktop news application providing access to news and information from hundreds of publications. Frankly, we believe that it is the best news app available. Users choose what they want to read and all publisher content is available to users – we don’t pick and choose for you. With Spotlight, the reading experience is clean and fresh — free of pop-ups, in your face ads and privacy concerns. We believe that Spotlight is a great news app for all audiences. However, we have really focused on working with college newspapers while simultaneously building an extensive library of complementary content. Our goal is to be the go to news and information source for college students and young alumni.
What inspired you to start this company?
Clearly, news was being dominated by social media and by apps that picked what was trendy from major publications. At the same time, local newspapers were struggling to keep the doors open. I also noticed that college newspapers were still almost entirely reliant on print distribution. It was then I started to talk to newsrooms to understand their pain points as well as general news readers. It became obvious an easy-to-use application built from the ground up that partners with local and college newspapers was what we needed to build.
What does SpotlightNews offer that other news sites don’t?
In designing Spotlight we have tried to avoid the deficiencies that people complain about in other news apps. So, I am not sure where to start in listing the unique features that make Spotlight such a great app. Most news sites bombard readers with pop-ups, screen takeovers, and subscription offers/demands that interfere with the reading experience. With Spotlight you get a clean, fast presentation of news articles with a few static ads that are not about what you ate for lunch yesterday or were shopping for this morning.Spotlight is also the only news aggregation app that works across iOS, android, and desktop platforms. Whether you are working at your desk or on the go, SpotlightNews is there with the news you are interested in.Spotlight is also the only news platform that includes your college newspaper as well as news from campuses across the country.Perhaps most importantly, Spotlight puts you in control of your news feed. You pick the publications you want to read regularly. You pick the topics you are interested in. You can even define your own specialized topics of interest – and your news is always just a click or two away.
If you had one “insider tip” for students using your service, what would it be?
As the ultimate Spotlight insider, that question is a tough one. One thing I do is to leverage Spotlight’s ability to reorder my news feed. I always include a general news source such as Reuters as the first entry. You might include the JHU newsletter next. In this way when you go to Spotlight you first see headlines for what is happening in the world and then on campus. Another powerful Spotlight feature that can be used quite effectively is defining your own topic of interest. When there is some event or other topic that everyone is talking about, create a topic that provides you with a unique take or insight by searching for a specific aspect.
What is your vision of the future of SpotlightNews?
I see SpotlightNews as the primary news and information source for all students and young alumni. I believe that we need people to be well informed and to trust the media. Without unbiased, uncensored availability of news content (especially from the more trusted local and college media sources), this goal seems unattainable. With Spotlight, I hope to build a lifelong habit of well-informed news readership in today’s students and young alumni. I hope to help create a generation of well informed citizenry.
We appreciate your time, thank you for answering our questions!
To use SpotlightNews now, visit spotlightnews.us