Newsana has drawn many comparisons to the social media site Reddit, but its co-founder Ben Peterson argued Newsana will be maintain a higher standard than Reddit and will focus on quality journalism.
By Tamara Baluja
There are great pieces of journalism all over the Internet, but many are hard to find. Add to that Twitter’s shotgun blast, if you miss an interesting tweet, it’s gone.
To close that gap, a new Toronto-based startup called Newsana, a curation site for news junkies, launched Tuesday. Newsana has drawn many comparisons to the social media site Reddit, but its co-founder Ben Peterson argued Newsana will maintain a higher standard than the“college level humour and sometimes offensive content that frequently tops Reddit.”
“It’s a way of elevating the conversation,” says Peterson, who was also one of the brains behind Journalists for Human Rights. “Good journalism gets rewarded here.”
Newsana links to the original content, sending users to other websites.
To access Newsana, users have to apply and abide by its community standards. Users are then ranked using an algorithm based on their contributions. So far, users can personalize their home page with five feeds selected from the roughly 35 topics, that range from politics and business to arts and books. Members can up-vote stories. So far, 450 users have signed up.
For journalists, Peterson says, the website will highlight some of the best content on the subjects that interest them and will also keep them informed about the industry, with topics like future of journalism and social media.
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Newsana received $500,000 in funding from a group of high profile investors including Prem Watsa, CEO of Fairfax Financial, and Gary Slaight, president and CEO of Slaight Communications. At its launch, Newswana will be ad-free, but once the website hits 100,000 page views a month and the community grows in size, Peterson says he plans to approach advertisers for native branded content. That means instead of having a large banner ad, Newsana will instead have "the top 5 stories on innovation by IBM, or something like that," which will be labelled as sponsored content and interspersed throughout the website.
Newsana is also looking at adding weekly email digests to expand its mobile footprint.