This Philly-made email newsletter wants to help you break out of your bubble - Technical.ly Philly

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Jan. 24, 2017 7:31 am

This Philly-made email newsletter wants to help you break out of your bubble

PolarNews emails you a daily curated selection of contrasting news articles so you can step beyond your own echo chamber.

Burst the bubble.

(Photo by Flickr user Dykam, under a Creative Commons license)

Davis Filippell was in the U.K. working for a consulting firm as the nation grappled with its own surprise at the Brexit referendum results in June 2016.

A couple of months later, when he returned to the U.S. to get his MBA from Wharton, the thought that people lived in an informational bubble reflective of their own beliefs sparked an idea: an email list that sends you dueling news articles with contrasting views.

PolarNews sent out its first email blast at 7 a.m. on October 6. Built alongside Wharton students Matt Alexander and Amelia Bell, the online service sends its 300 subscribers a hand-curated selection from a series of sources offering different opinions on a specific subject.

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Granted, a manual selection process comes with its own inherent biases but, according to Filippell, the trio strives to pick articles that allow readers to compare and contrast.

“We personally believe that having a place for discourse and some sort of forum that is relevant and engaging is the thing that’s needed in the physical and virtual spaces,” Filippell told Technical.ly. “Now more than ever, given the way the election went, having this content available in one look and one form will help foster that conversation.”

Business-wise, there’s a few different ideas in the pipeline. For now, the PolarNews camp is evaluating different revenue models to turn the mailing list into a sustainable project.

(Perhaps they could take a cue from D.C.’s 730DC list, which got local companies to serve as monthly title sponsors.)

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Roberto Torres

Roberto Torres became Technical.ly Lead Philly Reporter in May 2016. Prior, he was a freelance contributor to Technical.ly and Al Dia News. The native Venezuelan moved to Philadelphia in 2015 after reporting on research at his alma mater, the University of Zulia. Whenever he's not fencing deadlines, he can be found standing in line at Overbrook Pizza in West Philly, running Netflix/Hulu marathons with his wife or reading news from Venezuela.

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