By Brigette Flood

There’s a new startup business publication that’s getting lots of buzz lately. It’s called Quartz and it launched in September 2012 by Atlantic Media Company.

A business publication doesn’t seem that interesting at first glance, but Quartz includes some key characteristics that give it a disruptor reputation. For starters, it’s digital-only, mobile-first and tablet-focused.

Like The Economist and The Financial Times, Quartz covers global economic news. But all of its content is free. Even better, the free content is designed for viewing on mobile devices and social networks. Probably because of that, Quartz’s tone is more conversational and less MBA. Approachable writing to match the approachable price. And if you love charts and infographics, you will have a special fondness Quartz.

With about 15 to 20 employees working out of its Soho headquarteres, Quartz doesn’t have the enormous bandwidth it takes to cover all the business news that’s fit to tweet. Instead, the staff chooses to delve into a few key topics with intensity – like the fiscal cliff.

To provide more explanation, Global News Editor Gideon Lichfield, says Quartz will “say goodbye to the beat.” He continues, “instead of fixed beats we structure our newsroom around an ever-evolving collection of phenomena – the patterns, trends and seismic shifts that are shaping the world our readers live in. ‘Financial markets’ is a beat, but ‘the financial crisis’ is a phenomenon. ‘The environment’ is a beat, but ‘climate change’ is a phenomenon.

The most intriguing part of the Quartz model – the part that gets digital marketers and social media types buzzing – is the data. Quartz gets 40 percent of its referral traffic from social networks, 35 percent from websites and 11 percent from search. Twitter is Quartz‘s number one referrer, followed by Digg, Facebook, Google and LinkedIn – an unusual assortment for a business publication. Two in ten of every visitor accesses the site from a smartphone and 1 in 10 via tablet.

These numbers are quite a departure from most business sites. By comparison, The Economist gets 15 percent of traffic from social media. Quartz seems ready not only to cover disruptors but to become one itself. Let’s hope that what Quartz lacks in size, it makes up for in flexibility and ingenuity. So far, so good.

Quartz can be found at qz.com, @quartznews and on Facebook: QuartzNews.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.