Flipboard, a popular news aggregator app, introduced on Thursday a curation feature that allows publishers to quickly create packages of stories, images and videos that focus on a specific event or issue.
The packages, known as Storyboards, are customizable and give publishers flexibility to assemble mini-packages that are similar to special reports. Storyboards are presented in a scroll that publishers can break into sections containing up to 10 links. They're set apart from other Flipboard content by a large photograph and a dark background, which contrasts with the app's conventional white layout.
The scrolling navigation marks a break with one of Flipboard's most well-known aesthetic features: a presentation that channels the look and feel of a physical publication onto a tablet or phone. Storyboards also represent another first for Flipboard because they were designed to be shared on social media platforms, where they appear as a conventional article link. Unlike Flipboard's user-created Magazines, which are constantly updated, Storyboards deliver news as a snapshot. Once a Storyboard is published, it won't be updated.
In an interview, CEO Mike McCue called Storyboards "a very powerful type of new curation." The feature represents a next step in the company's approach to curation, McCue said, creating a "finite" process for gathering information to help readers get up to speed on a particular subject.
The Storyboards feature is Flipboard's latest effort to stand out in the crowded news aggregation space. The app, which debuted on the original iPad in 2010, launched a paid TV service in February that serves readers professionally shot and directed short-form videos from major publications. In January, Flipboard launched a local news initiative in 23 North American metropolitan regions.
The Flipboard app was among the first news apps to take advantage of the iPad's magazine-like dimension, and quickly gained a loyal following. It now competes with Apple's News, Google News, SmartNews and a host of specialized news apps and websites.
A small group of publishers, including CNET, have been testing Storyboards for the last four months, creating packages such as Minneapolis Protests and the Truth About George Floyd by TheGrio and 40 Years After the Mount St. Helens Eruption by National Geographic. (Disclosure: CNET and some other ViacomCBS sites, including GameSpot and Chowhound, are publishing partners with Flipboard.)
Flipboard is first making the curation tool available to publishers in the US, Canada, the UK and Australia. Publishers in Germany, France, Italy and Spain will be added later this summer, with more countries to follow.