Rosa Laura Junco is co-developer and Chief Executive Officer of The Knife Media, the first media outlet to offer news without spin and use a scientific process to rate traditional publications for their level of bias. Mrs. Junco oversees all divisions of the subscription-based digital platform, which teaches news consumers to identify distortions in the media and enhance their critical thinking skills.
In addition to being a businesswoman, Rosa Laura Junco is a mother of five children. Raised in Monterrey, Mexico she is now based in the U.S. Previously, she served for years on various boards at Grupo Reforma, the largest print media company in Latin America.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
When I moved to the U.S. in 2008, I was shocked at how much editorializing traditional news outlets allowed when they were reporting the “news.” We wanted to inspire standards of objective, non-partisan news reporting, which I believe is a key element to any democracy. That’s what we’ve done.
The Knife Media uses standards of objectivity that can be applied to any news story — and any communication. It’s an honor to see the words “Rosa Laura Junco – CEO” on the website of a company that puts this mission at the forefront.
Tell us about your business.
The Knife Media has to do with ethical and objective news reporting. We have developed a methodology that measures the level of spin, slant and logic in any report, so that readers can know the quality of their news.
We then teach news consumers how to spot these kinds of distortion so they’re not misled. We also offer breaking news that’s stripped of spin so that people can just get the facts and be better informed about their world.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Right now, we are offering readers who aren’t yet subscribers access to several free articles to get a taste of the benefits of our product. We’re a different kind of news organization in that we don’t have advertising on our site.
The reason is that in today’s fast-paced consumer society, as lot of decisions regarding news coverage are influenced by advertisers, rather than by objective standards. We believe news organizations should work for their readers, not their advertisers, and we want our readers to know they’re our only clients.
I was awarded “Woman of the Decade 2018” by the Women’s Economic Forum, a global conference of the All Ladies League (ALL) that aims to “foster empowering conversations, connections and collaborations among women entrepreneurs and leaders from all walks of life.”
Many influential women have won the award and it’s a privilege to see the words “Rosa Laura Junco” and “Woman of the Decade” next to each other.
Where is your business based?
We’re based in New York state. We also have collaborators based in different parts of the U.S. as well as in other countries including Canada and Mexico.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
The most important step that we took as a young startup was bringing together a group of experts to study several disciplines, including communications, science, logic and ethics. This intense period of study was a crucial step that helped us develop a set of standards that could accurately and consistently measure bias in the media.
For two years we developed and tested our proprietary method to measure objectivity in any communication. Our analysis teams now use this method to rate news outlets and our writers use it to analyze media bias.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
We speak and communicate directly with people who are looking for more objective news. These types of people love our product as soon as they start interfacing with it, and become hooked. We have also given interviews about our product and this has helped raise awareness.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Some people believe that they already understand distortion and bias in media. Most people would be surprised to know that they only perceive a fraction of the spin, bias and faulty logic. Our product is geared to help our readers build awareness of the mechanisms used in media to create bias and also to heighten their critical thinking skills.
Also, we find that some consumers are so used to sensationalized news that they like it and prefer it over data-based, unbiased news. This is a reflection of where our society is at, and we strive to help show people the value of getting the facts.
How did you overcome these challenges?
People have a series of little epiphanies as they read our work. It’s a fun experience and an enlightening one to see something that was previously invisible to you. To facilitate this, we make sure to build tools into our product that help people develop a more critical process of evaluation. After spending time with our product, people feel clearer and more empowered to understand news events and other personal communications.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
The amazing team that works together on this project keeps me very motivated and connected to the mission we have set out to accomplish. I feel very honored to be working side by side with such talented people. We also stay motivated by never losing sight of our vision for a more objective media. We believe this would not only lead to a better informed populace, but also help reduce conflict and violence in the world.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
We have yet to see other companies doing what we are doing. Many people aren’t yet aware of the need to assess to quality of the information that they consume. There’s a metaphor we like to use: think about the “Nutrition Facts” on food labels. They give us raw data that help us understand how healthy a given type of food is. Yet there is no such “labeling” regarding the information we ingest. The Knife Media is now changing that.
We want people to distinguish between facts and opinion, between data and entertainment. This is how we distinguish ourselves.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
I received advice on how to build a progressive, humanitarian team and community: fostering critical and independent thinking coupled with a willingness for people to be accountable for their actions and effects they have on others.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Stay focused on the principles you want to uphold through your business, independent of your results. That’s hard, because as entrepreneurs we become very focused on our results and outcomes. But at the end of the day, it’s how we are as people that’s most important. That’s how we can build a better, more caring world. It takes innovation and courage to both do something great and care for yourself and others.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
For us, news notification alerts on our phones and computers are key. After all, we need to track Donald Trump and other leaders at all hours of the day. Being in the news industry, it is great to be able to go through the day knowing that I will be notified within minutes when important news breaks.
Technology today is allowing us to work together in ways that would have been impossible before. They’re changing what is possible in the workplace at a very fast rate. It is critical to stay up to speed with everything new technologies have to offer.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I recently re-read “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley. What amazed me the most was how this dystopian novel written in the early 1930s is current even now, probably more so. There is a tremendous amount of wisdom we can take from this book.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
We are currently focusing on measuring the response from readers to the different ways we can offer and present our product. We are using all sorts of different tools for this. We have also been meeting thought leaders from throughout the media space, and are looking to meet more!
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
We are always striving to make the quality of our work better. We want to expand the amount of news we cover, and develop new ways of helping people understand bias in ways that help them in their own lives.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Twitter @rljunco, @theknifemedia
LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/rosa-laura-junco, www.linkedin.com/company/theknifemedia
Facebook www.facebook.com/rljunco, www.facebook.com/theknifenews
Medium www.medium.com/@rljunco, www.medium.com/@TheKnifeMedia
Website www.rosalaurajunco.com, www.theknifemedia.com
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