Side Stories

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Summer Portal • Manifesto• Report Outline • Side Stories • Glossary
Guiding Doc • Case study format • Rejected text


Pegasus News

editorial structure -- produces original news -- DFW area -- local -- some UGC -- some from Topix

Local news for the Dallas / Fort Worth area. Produces original content from an editorial structure covering different fields -- managing, neighborhood, film, theater, photography/design, research, more. Pulls content with permission from 59 local "content partners". Registered users can add stories, events, photos, band profiles, lost pet notices, garage sale info. Users' ability to add stories is not particularly highlighted, especially in contrast to some other participatory sites. Users can comment on stories. Some news comes from Topix.

"Hyperlocal": Box on top of page where registered users who enter their addresses receive "headlines and events in a tight radius around your home."

Registered users can also customize their home pages based upon their reading habits -- good example of relinquishing editorial control.

Some advertising is local. For example, the lost pet section has a banner for Adopt A Dallas Pet. Some, oddly, is of the "save on your RX" variety.

A feature called the "Daily You" presents news that is geographically relevant across generic site sections ("business," "sports" ...)

Bought by Fisher Communicatons in 2008.

See also

Vagabond Reporters - see above in SOJO section. Association of freelancers in Burma whose stories have been picked up by WAPO.

Solo Journalists (SOJOs)

Kevin Sites - -well-known SOJO for Yahoo! News

Vagabond Reporters International - -young freelance foreign reporters operating mostly out of Burma. One of the co-founders had story run on front page of WAPO after cyclone last month. -Can also be categorized as an agency??

Hanson Hosein - -Canadian reporter who left producer job at NBC for entry-level SOJO position in rural Canada. He now teaches multimedia reporting at the University of Washington. We can look at Hosein himself or CBC program as case study.



Silobreaker bills itself as “more than a news aggregator” and, well, it is and it isn’t. Silobreaker does aggregate news stories – from approximately 10,000 news blog and multimedia sources- but it also has powerful search and visualization features.

Registered users (registration is free) gain access to four types of searches – 360, network, hotspots, and trends. For example, I did a 360 search for Maxime Bernier, the Canadian foreign minister who resigned last week after his scorned ex-girlfriend, Julie Couillard, returned secret documents he had left at her apartment. I was presented with a fact sheet on Bernier, a YouTube video of Couillard’s television interview, top stories featuring Bernier, and an extensive list of other stories and blogs. Impressively, the sources were both national and foreign, mainstream and obscure.

A network search for Bernier presented me with an interactive nodal graph linking Bernier to other relevant people, places and organizations in the news; for example, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Ottawa, and the Hells Angels bike gang (to which Couillard had once been connected).

Similarly, a hotspots search brought up a map marked with places mentioned in various stories concerning Bernier. Clicking on the hotspot brought me to the relevant story.

Finally, a trends search graphed media attention on Bernier, Couillard and Harper over a given time.

While it certainly doesn’t fall under the rubric of citizen reporting, Silobreaker can be seen as an example of individualized and editor/gatekeeper-free news consumption.

The company is a joint venture between Infosphere AB, a Swedish commercial intelligence and knowledge strategy consultancy, and Elucidon, a U.K.-based holding company for companies providing intelligent search and analytics technology. It is privately funded but will soon introduce ads.


Organizes "news, videos, images, and opinions" as they are tied to events and people. Thin definition of an "event": 1. Something that happens at a given place and time, something interesting, exciting, or unusual that we want to share with others and discuss! 2. Organized occasion: an organized occasion such as a social function or sports competition (from the about page,

Posts UGC as well as wire service, newspaper reports. Allows comments on articles. Articles are surfaced by ratings. Each article has a "Q & A" section. Claims to be "open, unedited, unmediated, highly relevant". Traffic of top articles seems low; front-page articles have between 5 and 15 "views". Citizen-contributed articles are not prominently featured on the frontpage.

Not particularly interesting for a case study.

At independent level, fine line between freelancer and agency. When is this line crossed? When group of people band together to form agency, give themselves a name and incorporate?

Aswat Aliraq - Iraqi news agency put together by Reuters Foundation and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation [1]

  • IndyMedia - Network of leftist media outlets in cities around the world. All content is user-contributed. Users upload abstracts of stories before being able to publish them. IndyMedia can be seen as a publisher (stories uploaded to website) but is also an agency allowing other media outlets to reproduce their stories. The website features a newswire and IMC-produced documentaries run on cable-access stations around the US [2]


National / govt:

  • Xinhua
    • interesting via Wikipedia: Beijing has been cutting funding to the news agency by an average of seven percent per year over the past three years, and state funds currently cover only about 40 percent of Xinhua's costs. As a result, the agency is raising revenues through involvement in public relations, construction, and information service businesses
  • RIA Novosti

City Directories

DetroitYES Forums

From the DetroitYES! Project [use of the ! is inconsistent]

From the about page:

The DetroitYES! Project takes on these questions by providing a setting where an audience of those who care can meet, discuss, and carry forward the evolving portrait of Detroit, far beyond the artist who started it, and guide the socially cutting edge city and region forward its uncertain future.

DISCUSS DETROIT!, the largest forum in the project, has over 41000 posts and 1900 pages (not clear yet if pages = threads in the common forum vocabulary). About 40 threads will be active on any given day. A fair number of threads reference, link to, and summarize news articles. The site is not positioned or used exclusively as an aggregator. Forum members also post original questions, commentary, and research, much of it informal.

One recent post on a police raid started with short commentary, expanded with links to local news article, analysis, and investigation: The aggregating function is not entirely through the explicit posting of news articles. The forum is a central location for news topic from many sources, including neighborhoods, alternative media producers, and personal experiences.



    • Social networking platform "for adults". UGC can lead to "Points", which are convertible to gift cards / donations.
    • Forums are often sponsored and branded: Borders, American Public Media, Starbucks.
  • "News" section contains some citizen media, mostly informal, opinion-based and unsourced. Some users simply copy/paste newspaper and wire articles with brief summary or commentary -- similar to Groundreport.
  • Music and travel sections personal-essay style, read like blog posts. Health section filled with contributors from Harvard Health Publications, suggesting other media outlets are contributing to Gather to bring traffic to their sites are raise their profiles.
  • Get Satisfaction lets users create and post in topics around companies and products. Employees of the company can identify themselves and post official responses.


"You are the news"

First-person type stories on popular news. Users are paid "$100 or more" for eyewitness contributions on certain popular subjects -- daily "assignments" are posted. Sample subjects are the Spanish fuel strikes, someone in Britain who has lost family in Afghanistan, Celtics and Lakers sports fans. Alexa rank of 99,412

Data visualization

Village Soup

Local news. A "portal to community goods and services." Content is divided by design into news from affiliated local newspapers, news from local businesses & organizations, and user-submitted stories and blogs. Members can post comments on all sections of the site, including "bizBriefs" and "bizOffers", which are posted by local businesses on subjects like the day's dinner specials.

8000 unique visitors a day.


Site prominently features citizen journalism although not clear how much traffic it generates. Top-rated story only has 11 views. Topics include world, business, tech. Contributors earn revenue share based on traffic, paid via paypal All work licensed under CC

An observation: Most of the original content is extremely lightly sourced and attributed. In fact, many of the authors aren’t even linking very much. Should one of the questions we’re asking be, what sort of standards are contributors held to? Are any of these sites encouraging users to subscribe to the “principles” of traditional journalism, i.e. attribution, verifiability, etc? Or are those principles framed as outdated and oppressive, associated with evil censoring and arrogant gate-keeping?

MainStreet "Where money and life intersect" Publisher-model site. Produces original reporting on "national, celebrity, entertainment news and gossip," with a financial angle. Paid staff writers and unpaid intern. Besides original stories, does "round-up" of news and finance headlines. Established Feb. 2008 as spin-off of

Managing News

Paid service that "helps you track and analyze social and mainstream media, and then collaborate and act on it." For $1,000 a month subscribers can have up to 30 keywords that appear in the news - names, issues, brands, parts of the world - tracked and analyzed. Updates can be sent via SMS. Information can be displayed visually as in Silobreaker. Company blog used to promote service and demonstrate its utility.