News Buds

June-August 2020

A mobile platform improving the way people consume news.

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This project was created for a ten-week sprint through the "Slack community where budding product managers sprout, grow, and flourish"

The Team

Janice Liu

Julia Hawley

Soundarya Senthilnathan

Our team was nominated for the final round of presentations from 16 teams in total.

In a five minute presentation, we pitched our product to over 120 attendees and a panel of 6 Product Managers from Google, Playstation, Workday, RocketBlocks, LinkedIn, and Salesforce


Pew Research Center

Political Polarization refers to the increasing divide of political attitudes to ideological extremes. This divide lowers the probability of bipartisan compromises, which often leads to exacerbation of current issues and delayed solutions.


News and media play a major role in escalating political polarization.

The Social Dilemma

Social media’s commitment to personalizing users’ experiences results in confirmation of users’ biases and exacerbates political polarization. 

News Consumption in the US

89% of the adult US mobile population access news and information via their mobile device

49% of all Americans think the media is very biased

37% of American news consumers say they have less or much less trust in online news sources than previously

20% of people in the U.S. pay for online news

We asked people what improvements they want to see in their news consumption

"Transparency in the source"

"I wish there was also a way to see WHAT exactly each news source is biased towards"

"I consume a lot of news that's linked from twitter/reddit so finding new sources that bring me out of my bubble that are accessible"

"Less biased news, especially in terms of reporting accurately of what HAPPENS rather than what is desired to happen"

"Sources! So often statistics are cited with nothing to back them up -- I notice this more on social media posts or videos, less so on written news apps"

"Inclusion of multiple perspectives and more diverse information that actually tells us what's going on in the world instead of the tidbits the media chooses to share with us"

"I want to know about the biases and/or corporate sponsorships of the news sources & authors I consume news from."

"Paywall removal - it gatekeeps valuable knowledge on the basis of wealth"

"Feeling limited to bias and certain thoughts. I want to hear all perspectives rather than just one side."

Create a news aggregator that aims to provide the user with relevant information around news sources and stories, so they are better equipped to form their own opinion on a topic.

Our Goal

Jane US college student

Does not read beyond her familiar news sources

⚖️ Lack of Diverse Voices

Has difficulty confirming the credibility of sources

🔍 Lack of Transparency

Uncomfortable openly discussing politics

🗣 Lack of Civil Conversation

We began with the intention that this product would be a website or plugin to provide context on news bias

Ideation Sketching

Lo-fi Wireframes

After more discussion about how our user would actually use this product, we decided it would better be suited as a mobile application.


I went back to paper and did mobile sketches.

Lo-fi Wireframes (again)


⚖️ Lack of Diverse Voices

Include a Range of Media & Topics

A variety of media like podcasts, articles & videos allow the user to choose how they want to consume information

🔍 Lack of Transparency

Integrate Third Party Fact Checkers

Quickly see if the article was flagged by a third party fact-checker, and view data of how users are reacting

Analyze Journalist and Company Sources

View profiles of journalists & news outlets

High effort


Low effort

in seconds

Compare Perspectives

Draw attention to the partisan bias of sources (based on fact-checker data)

🗣 Lack of Civil Conversation

User Reactions

Share reactions and see how it compares to others'

AI Moderated Comments

Use AI and machine learning to flag unproductive comments and enforce a constructive conversation

Revenue Streams


For paywall content, the user can pay a fee to gain full access


Revenue from ads placed on digital platforms makes up nearly half of all ad revenue in the US