Microsoft News launches Spark to inspire connection and creativity

Microsoft News has launched Spark, a videocentric microsite dedicated to helping you cope with uncertainty, learn how to find peace and creativity, as well as find tips and classes to stay healthy.

While our COVID-19 hub provides by-the-minute hard news around reported infections, death tolls, recoveries, preventative measures, job impact and government policy developments, Spark focuses on how we’re inspiring one another. Even as millions of us shelter in isolation with the mutual goal to flatten the curve, the need to connect to one another remains vital.

Many of us have been looking for things to do, watch, and participate in online – that spark our energy during a time of crisis. We’ve witnessed the restlessly creative find ways to share their talents, from Conan O’Brien’s determined experiment with an iPhone and Skype to the Saturday Night Live home edition.

Of course, the need to reach out isn’t limited to newsmakers and celebrities: A ramp-up of everything from virtual exercise classes to religious services attempts to build routine and normalcy, as well as much-needed fitness and peace of mind for the homebound. Not to mention how great those quarantine challenges have been, from brilliant song parodies to quirky high-art recreations, to inject much needed doses of levity.

By highlighting our ecosystem of amazing video-on-demand contributors and showcasing live video streams, the MSN Video team believes we can help you find the spark you need – all from the safety of your own home.

What Spark delivers

  • Connection: Discover ways to connect and be inspired by acts of service.
  • Creativity: Find live concerts, learn new craft handiwork and get tips to tackle overdue home improvement projects.
  • Mind: Explore a peaceful oasis with tips from experts and others who face similar mental challenges (like astronauts!).
  • Body: Boost your immunity through fitness classes and professional health insights. You’ll find you don’t need deluxe equipment to stay on a healthy path.

Find what’s live now

What’s old is new again. American broadcasting has roots in live programming that goes back to the beginning of television. Then came videotape, time-shifting and on-demand video, so mass entertainment has been limited to morning newscasts and reality show behemoths like American Idol.

But nothing beats live video as a real-time way to feel connected with the community at large – whether through exercise, music, dance, comedy, or other forms of art. Spark Live gathers the hottest live streams to save you the time searching! Tune in daily to find the best of professional entertainment and social media. Beware: You just might discover a need to leap in with your own creations.


Now that the lines of work, family and play have blurred, we’ve also partnered with our LinkedIn pals to bring you their latest new feature, #BusinessUnusual through LinkedIn Editors Live. From interviews with topic experts on creativity to health-data experts like Bill Gates, the LinkedIn Editors bring diverse topics related to remote work and managing COVID-19 impacts to businesses and careers.

Featuring… Billboard

Did you know before Billboard became known as the arbiter of hit music charts, the media company debuted way back in 1894 as an eight-page trade publication for bill posters? Billboard has come a long way in its 126-year history, and we’re helping our partner to promote its 24/7 live stream.

Here we’ll host behind-the-scenes Q&A’s with musicians who air on “Billboard at Home” live concerts. See how performers are coping with isolation, as well as what they’re doing to stay creative. Perhaps it’ll spark your own musical interests!

Stay tuned for more new features coming up, including a programming schedule and other partners with more to share. Thanks so much for being a part of the Microsoft News community.

Elisabeth Rae Collett is a senior content manager at Microsoft News and leads our Video vertical.