Savannah Bradley, a UNC-Chapel Hill junior, harnesses the power of social media and tech to create an online haven for Gen-Zers through her digital media platform Haloscope.
She started the site in 2017 when she was a junior in high school, and it’s been growing ever since. Today, the platform boasts around 7,000 readers.
The site features articles about daily news, culture, music, fashion and politics, as well as original writing and art.
Bradley formed the idea for the site by working as a journalist for indie arts and culture magazines while in high school. She quickly realized as she worked at different outlets that she didn’t just want to be a staff reporter, she wanted the job that her editors had. So, she became her own boss and founded Haloscope.
The platform now has staff members from over 30 countries.
“We have reporters who are working out of Kazakhstan, we have reporters who are working out of Puerto Rico,” Bradley said. “It’s been really fruitful and really creatively fulfilling, being able to kind of see the collision of Gen-Z narratives from a lot of different places on the globe.”
The site’s readership is equally as geographically diverse, spanning six of the seven continents. Haloscope has actually had the advantage of beginning completely remote since its inception, so the pandemic had virtually no effect on the company.
Bradley’s right-hand woman, Gabby Vallencourt, is the assistant editor for the site and a student at Ryerson University in Toronto, so the two are used to handling things via phone calls and emails.
Right now, much like the rest of the media world, Haloscope is trying to figure out how to monetize its content in an era where companies like BuzzFeed are disseminating information for free.
“Because I come from a reporting background, not from a business background,” Bradley said, “I’ve had to learn as I go.”
The company is leaning toward implementing a pay-what-you-can model, where readers would be asked to simply pay what they could each month, whether it was $1 or $10.
The only funding the company has ever received was from UNC’s Carolina Pitch Party Competition in October, where Haloscope won runner-up for the category of Late Stage Social company and landed $500.
Despite not being able to pay staff yet, Bradley still runs her site professionally. Building a diverse and equitable environment is at the forefront of her mind, and the company conducts quarterly diversity and inclusion audits, as all major media companies should, she said.
Next on Haloscope’s plate is developing an app that breaks down news articles within an Instagram or Snapchat story in 15 slides or less, in a way that is informative but also transparent. This way, people can take in the news of the day without becoming overwhelmed by it. So far, they’ve got the UI and UX designs, and are working on the programming.
Haloscope does do four specialty print editions a year, and the proceeds of each edition go to a charity.
One of Bradley’s favorite stories that the site has produced has been a feature on Virgil Abloh, the CEO of the popular fashion brand Off-White. A San Francisco Bay-area reporter wrote the article focusing on the politics of black capitalism and the economics of fashion.
In the future, Bradley hopes to find investors and overall scale the company. The trend of building a brand based on the internet and social media is hot, and she plans to take full advantage.
“You know, Haloscope wouldn’t have been built without the internet and wouldn’t have been built without something like Instagram or without Twitter,” she said.
And the good news for Bradley is that those platforms are only growing in popularity, and present the opportunity for Haloscope to grow along with them.