In The News

Wiki Co-Founder Creates ‘Wikipedia for News’ to Fight Bias in the Media

The newest news stand. (Dan Kitwood/Getty)

The grand jury decisions for the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases sent the media into a whirlwind. It was difficult to get a good sense of what was going on—with right-winged news outlets pushing one bias, left-winged pushing another, everyone aggregating everything and Facebook friends circulating falsities they read on Reddit. As our country erupted in discussion and protest, information was distributed through a buzzy media and Internet rumors. The “facts” weren’t as readily available.

To rid the public of this type of problem, Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger made Infobitt, a free, open content news resource he’s calling “Wikipedia for the news.” No, it’s not Wikinews; this site grabs facts from news sources, summarizes them and organizes the information to make it a news go-to. Like our beloved online encyclopedia, Infobitt is a collaborative effort. Read More

Slow News Day

When Facebook Went Down, News Traffic Only Dropped a Measly 3%

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Anyone who’s felt terrorized by social media’s effect on society eventually ends up asking the question, “What would our lives be like without Facebook?” On Friday, we finally got a taste of that sweet reality when Facebook went down for 19 minutes around noon.

Chartbeat, a company that provides news organizations with live metrics for obsessive reporters to gaze at obsessively all day, decided that this was an ideal opportunity to figure out what Facebook’s effect is on news traffic. The result? Even as 70 percent of Facebook referrals vanished, overall traffic to news sites only took a three percent hit. Read More

New Media

‘Mic’ Drop: PolicyMic Changes Its Name, Revamps Layout

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Millennials are often accused of being irresponsible and non-committal. We can’t commit to a relationship, a mortgage or a job for more than a year. How appropriate then, that a news site meant for millennials can’t commit to a name.

PolicyMic has changed its name to Mic (Stylized “.Mic”). “Policy.Mic” is now just a section, like Arts.Mic or World.Mic. Distancing themselves from using the word “Policy” in their masthead is meant to chase broader appeal. Read More

App for That

Ben Huh’s News Startup Circa Aims to Change the Way Users Consume Mobile News

(Photo: Circa blog)

In recent months, LOLcat emperor and  Bravo TV star Ben Huh has systematically leaked handfuls of details about his news startup, Circa, to the press. Back in April, Circa raised $750,000 from a slew of investors (many of whom were named David). In May, Nieman Lab caught up with Mr. Huh at ROFLCON, where he provided buzzword-laden answers and metaphors involving newspapers and teenagers to their questions about the startup. But today, Mr. Huh’s efforts have finally solidified into a cohesive company: Circa is an iPhone app that wants to change the way readers consume news.

Circa isn’t just a news aggregator. It employs teams of editors who curate and synthesize news stories into digestible bites, optimized for reading on mobile devices. The point is to write stories that are designed exclusively for mobile, instead of repackaging stories released on other platforms and trying to fit them into a mobile setting. Read More

Can You Digg It?

The Digg Bang Theory: Can Betaworks Make a Run on Reddit?

Mr. Rose (Photo: flickr.com/joi)

In the winter of 2004, soon after the husks of once-great dot-com startups had dried and shriveled, a 27-year-old college dropout named Kevin Rose deployed a barebones new site, simply named “Digg.”

It was one of the first social networks in existence. Back then, the term “social networking” hadn’t shouldered its way into our lexicon yet. Facebook was a nascent, walled platform for college gossip; Google was still idly toying with its search algorithm; Twitter wouldn’t launch for another two years.

News itself was a hierarchical affair, largely produced and disseminated by trusted broadcasters and editors. Journalism’s democratizing forces hadn’t congealed, yet; bloggers weren’t sitting front row at fashion shows or making a living off of Google Ads. The idea that a community of Internet geeks could manipulate the news cycle would’ve elicited howls of mocking laughter from the Conde kingmakers. Read More

Can You Digg It?

Rethink Digg Survey Says: 92 Percent of Respondents Wouldn’t Recommend Digg to a Friend

(Photo: Rethink Digg)

Looks like the ambitious and hardworking folks behind Rethink Digg have their work cut out for them. On Friday, the team–which is tasked with revamping the ailing social news site in the next eight days–released a survey to gather user feedback on the current and future status of Digg. The results? “92% of survey respondents said that they would not recommend the current Digg to a friend.” Ouch. Read More

Cowork With Me?

Is The Yard, a New Coworking Space In Williamsburg, the General Assembly of Brooklyn?

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Launch party spread.

Others have tried and failed to make a coworking space grow in Williamsburg. (The Makery is dead! Long live, Bnter’s new office!) But “real estate professionals” and born-and-raised Brooklynites  Morris Levy and Richard Beyda may have the home-court advantage. The duo opened The Yard, a 14,000 square foot coworking space, in November and are already at 65 percent capacity.

A number of tech companies, including Hype Machine, Wanderfly, Mobile Roadie and Uber are already working out of the space, as well as a few startups still in splash page mode, like Gander TV and Spotflux. Somewhere between 60 to 70 percent of The Yard‘s residents are techies, although that wasn’t exactly the owners’ intention. “We knew there was a need in Williamsburg/Greenpoint for something like this, but we didn’t realize the tech scene was happening here and that that was the direction it was going to go,” Mr. Levy told Betabeat by phone.

Now that the startup syngery is under way, however, The Yard has been “planning strategic alliances” with angel investors whose portfolio companies might be interested in working there. For example, Mr. Levy said he’s currently in talks with Brooklyn Bridge Ventures founder and First Round Capital alum Charlie O’Donnell, who launched a Kings County-centric seed fund last month. Read More