Orchive, an up-and-coming online news service cofounded by Lawrenceville’s Francis J. Hinson ‘12, has entered and thus far maintained first place in the Intel Innovators Competition. The online contest, hosted jointly by the Intel Corporation and Facebook, aims to advertise the newest technological ideas submitted by applicants and will award up to $100,000 to the winner.
The mission of Orchive (as defined by its team) is to “allow individuals from around the world to submit first hand reports of the events they experience around them.” The Orchive team itself consists of a number of Lawrentians, most notably Francis Hinson ‘12, Co-Founder and CEO; Nik Nayar ‘12, Co-Founder; Jonathan Tang ‘13, Lead Developer; and Kevin Lee ‘14, Developer.
The idea for such a site had its beginnings in February earlier this year. Hinson had been closely following the burgeoning of the revolts occurring throughout the Middle East, as well as the impact news networks and internet sites wielded over the public’s knowledge of the current political situation. More importantly, he noticed the information disconnect between what some of the news networks were reporting and the first-hand, eyewitness accounts of those same events. He then decided to create a website that would allow individuals to report about the experiences they witnessed, a site that would simultaneously update users instantly about the world around them. The online domain would strive to reintroduce the element of authenticity in news-reporting, while also providing a space in which regular people can create tomorrow’s headlines. The product of that vision is now Orchive.
How exactly does Orchive function? After joining Orchive, users can post new articles by completing the necessary information of the topic, such as its location, the source, and the actual details; he or she can additionally tag the report under a variety of criteria, such as Sports, Nature, Business, Crime, Politics, etc. Other Orchive members can rate articles by their accuracy and comment underneath; however, one cannot “like” a certain post, since the goal of Orchive is to broadcast “accurate news, not popular news,” as developer Jonathan Tang ‘13 explains. Though “trending” articles that appear on each member’s homepage are allocated based on their accuracy ratings, page views, and time-sensitivity, the user is also allowed a set of preferences that allows him to view the types of articles he enjoys.
Though, at first glance, Orchive’s premise may appear unremarkable in a landscape where social networking sites are spawned daily throughout the internet, this online start-up differs markedly from sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Hinson explains: “Orchive differs fundamentally from [other media in that it] focuses solely on objective news-reporting. Twitter and Facebook are simply media for following interests.”
After months of developing and a brief beta-release, Orchive has now found itself among the front-runners in the Intel Innovators Competition. Conducted through the Facebook interface, anyone aged 18-24 can submit his or her technological idea with its corresponding platform to the webpage. Viewers then can choose their favorite ideas. Finalists, determined by viewer popularity, will then present their idea to a panel of executives and entrepreneurs, who shall finally pick the winner.
Despite its initial success, the Orchive team insists there is much more to come. Hinson, aspires for the site to one day have over a million users and hopes to streamline its organizational structure. A formal launch is projected for January.