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CircLabs, a new project to help sustain newspapers

Last week at the DC conference "From Gatekeeper to Information Valet," the formation of CircLabs was announced.  (Read the press release, or watch the announcement.)  CircLabs is a Silicon Valley startup financed by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.  Their first project is named Circulate---the goal is to help ensure a future for newspapers by finding ways to monetize online news. 

Circulate comes out of MGP's Bill Densmore's year-long research fellowship at the Reynolds Journalism Institute.  His project there was called the Information Valet.

Densmore will be joined by Martin Langeveld, Joe Bergeron, and Jeffrey Vander Clute as co-founders of CircLabs.  It is set to launch in the second half of 2009.

New giraffe profiles: Erik Sundelof and Jim Spencer

We've put up two new giraffe profiles--you can click on their names to reach the full profile.  Erik Sundelof (pictured here) is the founder of  It's a site that gives people tools to share content from their cell phones to the web--with it, he's trying to remove an economic barrier to citizen reporting, opening it up to more parts of the world.  Also with a global perspective, Jim Spencer is the founder of, a site that aggregates short news videos---trying to give people a filter and diverse, global viewpoints.

TODAY: Live streaming from DC event

"From Gatekeeper to Information Valet:  Work Plans for Sustaining Journalism" is being held today, May 27, at George Washington University in DC.  This one-day event is co-sponsored by the Reynolds Journalism Institute.  You can watch live streaming throughout the day.

ProPublica starts citizen journalism project

This week ProPublica announced the start of a citizen journalism project, the ProPublica Reporting Network.  This citizen journalism network will not be open-ended---it will have both an editor and a specific project.  The first effort is to monitor stimulus projects.  People can sign on and select a local stimulus project to report on, tracking it for abuse.  Former OffTheBus Director Amanda Michel will act as editor.  You can read about ProPublica and founder Paul Steiger on his media giraffe profile.

New giraffe profile: Tracy Van Slyke of The Media Consortium

We've put up a new media giraffe profile, this one of Tracy Van Slyke.  She runs the daily operations of The Media Consortium, a group of progressive media outlets that includes Mother Jones, the Nation, and Air America.  From her profile, you can read about how The Media Consortium started, listen to a ten-minute MGP interview, and look over the Read More section.

New textbook on media literacy

Giraffe Prospect John McManus has recently put out a textbook in DVD-format that's meant to help teach students how to view the news and find trustworthy information.  The book is titled Detecting Bull:  How to Identify Bias and Junk Journalism in Print, Broadcast and on the Wild Web.  It takes the lessons learned from his years leading, a website that rated the news in San Francisco.

Free Press releases "Saving the News"

Last week, Free Press released "Saving the News:  Toward a National Journalism Strategy."  This 48-page document lays out a plan for preserving journalism that is centered on government guidance. 

The report says that journalism is too vital to be left open to market forces.  They argue that while the changes brought on by the internet and the industry's financial troubles will be innovative and necessary, there should be a larger guiding strategy:

Larger Kindle will make it easier to read newspapers

This recent New York Times article, "Amazon Introduces Big-Screen Kindle," talks about plans to release a larger Kindle in the summer that is meant for textbooks and newspapers.  It mentions a deal for newspapers to sell the Kindle at a reduced rate with long-term subscriptions, but currently it's limited to subscribers who live outside the area where paper versions are available.

Paul Steiger interviewed about ProPublica, May 1, 2009

In this 16-minute interview, ProPublica's editor-in-chief, Paul Steiger, is interviewed by MGP's Sara Majka. You can learn more about Steiger and ProPublica, including a piece written about the interview and list of follow-up links, by going to his MGP profile.


Google launches profiles, questions about their intentions

Last week, MGP Director Bill Densmore pointed out that Google had started a new profile service.  People can now create a profile page about themselves that will come up when their name is Googled.  Google is promising this will give people more control over their image on the web.  This is probably true, but it's also true it could increase Google's leverage. If enough people sign up, it becomes a centralized way for people to organize their identity on the web.  If this occurs, Google has managed to make itself even more essential.

A quick tour of media innovation in San Francisco

Media Giraffe prospect Chris Nolan provides a whirlwind alternate tour of journalism/ media innovation around San Francisco in this sendup of a piece by NYT columnist Maureen Dowd.  Nolan's collection of links shows that the glass is as half full as it is half empty.

Read More:
Nolan's Media Giraffe profile
The original Dowd column

Margie Freivogel on Journalism's Transition to the Internet


Margie Freivogel discusses her new online enterprise, the St. Louis Beacon, and her transition from print to online journalism. She expresses her enthusiasm for influencing the future of journalism and says, "I have never been happier in my work than I am now."  See Freivogel's Media Giraffe profile for more.

Take a brief online survey

PBS Engage has joined with the Knight Commission to conduct the first national survey about how people are getting their news in the digital age.  Go here to answer their five questions online.  The site also gives you the chance to ask Google's Marissa Mayer, a co-chair of the commission, questions about the project.

New giraffe profile up

We just put up a new giraffe profile for Justin Carder. Justin does the Capital Hill Seattle Blog, and is also working to start a new hosting platform for blogs like his (details on that are found in the "Read More" section at the end of his profile). For the profile, we relied on information from Jane Steven's journalism blog, Rejurno. She tracks new solutions for journalism and has been doing case studies on online news sites. You can check that out here.

According to Slate, YouTube draining money

There is an interesting article in Slate about how much Google is losing to keep YouTube running.  It quotes a report by Credit Suisse that Google will lose $470 million on it this year.  While user-generated sites like Flickr, Facebook, and YouTube are immensely popular--and get a lot of press--they've become, according to Slate, a "financial albatross."  Advertisers are less drawn to the content, and the company is stuck providing the bandwidth for the public to put up their pictures and videos: