From The New York Times: As newspapers lose readers and advertisers, local news seems to be dying a long, slow death. The debate over what to do about it took on new urgency last week, when the Tribune Company filed for bankruptcy protection.
Some Web entrepreneurs are starting companies to try to resuscitate local news. One of those start-ups, Outside.In, announced its latest round of financing Monday.
The Brooklyn-based start-up raised about $2 million to add to the $5.5 million it has already raised, primarily from the existing investors, Union Square Ventures, the New York City Investment Fund and Betaworks. Angel investors who have backed Outside.In include big Silicon Valley names like Marc Andreessen and Esther Dyson.
Outside.In labels information from across the Web with geographical tags, categorising it by city, neighbourhood, intersection or street address. The site can then provide readers with “hyper-local” news from news outlets, blogs and even Twitter. It helps small publishers find an audience and helps big publishers find local stories. By serving up all this local content, it hopes to help advertisers aim at the reader on precise streets.
Outside.In can tell advertisers where a reader is and affirm that they are reading about their neighbourhood. That means an ad for a bookstore that is 50 feet from the reader will be more useful for the advertiser and the reader.
“Our whole premise is that these traditional media companies need to evolve to something that’s more sustainable,” said Mark Josephson, Outside.In’s chief executive officer. “They’re getting squeezed at the top by the national news organisations, and their customers are expecting really granular, specific, local information, but you can’t put a reporter on every corner.”
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