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Newsana has a new owner

Dear Newsanaites,

It is with great joy (and a touch of grieving) that I hereby announce Newsana.com has been purchased by my friends at Relish Interactive.

Don’t worry – Newsana is in good hands. Relish has vowed to not only keep Newsana up and running, but to take our community to the next level.

Relish is one of Toronto’s most accomplished digital development shops, with a growing portfolio of digital content startups under their roof. Newsana will fit right in there – especially considering their team has played a huge role in building Newsana from day one. All said, I’m confident that under Relish’s watch Newsana.com will only get stronger with age.

On a personal note, thank you. Thank you for being a part of Newsana and thank you for making this one of the most rewarding periods of my professional life. I’ve learned heaps about start-ups, digital media, management and myself. I even know a little about coding, hipsters and cat photos now. It’s been a great ride (except for the damn cat photos)!

Warm Regards,
Ben Peterson

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Top 5 Pitches of the Week

Extending a big welcome to all new community members and thank you to all members who continue to contribute. The team appreciates all sharing, commenting and voting. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions, concerns or suggestions.

Newsana is a community based online website where members not only engage with the content, but create it. On a weekly basis, the team features the “Top 5 Pitches of the Week” to find out who is generating the most buzz. Top pitches are determined by number of votes and comments. We want to know who is elevating the conversation!

This week the community was discussing Personal Development and Creative Technology.

 

Tim Doyle shared an article discussing pageviews, “Measuring the news: what are the alternatives to pageviews?”

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Martin Pelletier shared an article discussing efficiency, “How to Increase Productivity.”

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Douglas Robb shared an article discussing censorship, “Russia Bans Cursing in Movies, Books, Music and Media.”

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Michael Welyki shared an article discussing Ukrainian politics, “The Cossacks Are Coming.”

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Robb Henshaw shared an article discussing an IT service management software- ServiceNow, “The Tech Visionary Has a New Plan To Help You Do Your Job.”

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Why we launched NewsanaPlus and how it might be the next big thing in news

Last May The Onion published a piece particularly drenched in insight, Social Media Rock Star Makes $28,000 Per Year. It’s funny ‘cause it’s true—there are literally millions of people killing it on social media that don’t have a dime to show for it. Most of the folks raking it in from all the back-and-forth on Twitter, Facebook and the like are a tiny group of Silicon Valley elites who work and invest in these multi-billion dollar enterprises. What if, we thought, we could turn this financial dictatorship on its head and put some cash into the pockets of the people creating the actual value.

 

We launched Newsana in April of 2013 with high hopes and lofty ambitions. We wanted to build the world’s first online community that could scale and maintain a high quality of participation simultaneously. We wanted to gather a big group of subject-specific experts who would collectively find the most important news stories of the day.  By about November we realized this probably wasn’t going to happen the way we had hoped. While there is (and will remain) value in Newsana, it hasn’t evolved we had hoped. The burden we put on potential members, namely a lengthy application process, scared off a lot of potential members at the start. When we opened it up, the quality of content began to drop. I truly believe that it is possible to scale a high-quality community based around news, but we slowly realized we hadn’t yet found the golden goose.

 

At the same time, the revenue model we used to raise our first round of financing started to look, well, absurd. Huge changes in the digital advertising market (some of which happened before we launched, some after) meant we had to kiss that idea goodbye. Digital ad prices are in free fall and will continue to be. It’s a simple supply and demand problem—every day, tens of thousands of new sites go online, while the number of advertisers grows only slightly. You can still create a viable business around online ads, but you have to be producing the type of content that drives massive traffic. Top ten Justin Bieber moments work, higher quality analysis doesn’t, nor will it ever again.

 

So, alas, what were we to do? The core mission of Newsana has always been to provide readers with quality content, easing their information overload. But clearly the crowdsourcing model we developed has its flaws, as did our revenue mode. How could we kill both birds with one stone, I thought?

 

In the background of our everyday work, a number of other major structural changes were reshaping online journalism. The most important of these trends, as I seem them, are as follows:

1)      Readers are slowly and reluctantly coming around to paying for high quality digital content;

2)      The power of traditional brands is fast being eclipsed by the brand power of their superstar contributors, many of whom are leaving to create their own sites.

 

This last point here is particularly interesting. What if you didn’t need to be Nate Silver or Glenn Greenwald to have your own site? What if we could allow the best Newsana curators—and other social media superstars—to create and profit from their own little kingdom?

 

This way, our curators would be incentivized to keep the quality consistently high (unlike on Newsana currently) and, more importantly, they would finally start making some money from their huge online followings.

 

So, I locked myself in a basement for a few months, accompanied by only a few nibbles of food and a team of first-rate interns. How could we turn this premise into something viable? NewsanaPlus is the result.

 

NewsanaPlus is FAR from a finished product. It was built by stringing together a number of off-the-shelf solutions and required little-to-no actual coding by us. It is, in common start-up lingo, an MVP. Our goal with it is to prove two points:

A)     Social media superstars want to personally profit by creating their own curated newsmagazines, and;

B)      Most of our newsmagazines will get enough paid subscribers to make it worth our curators’ time and effort to create the newsmagazines in the first place.

 

If we can prove both are true, we’re in business. I firmly believe we have the beginnings of a truly disruptive business model. Take the middle-man out. Put the curator (or, in traditional news parlance, the editor) front and center. Make them the star and the main marketing force. Be 100% transparent and share revenue with those creating the real value. Scale up from there.

 

We’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a news curator and/or a subscriber to NewsanaPlus. What unifies both ends is the love of knowledge. You have to really, really, really care about a subject to spend time and money on it.  It might not seem like a necessity to most, but for those of us that that ‘get’ it, it’s all that matters.  It is because, in our hearts, we are news nerds. We are wonks.

 

Inspired by the #WeTheNorth campaign of the Toronto Raptors (yes I admit it), we wrote this up to summarize everything that NewsanaPlus means to us.

 

We are the wonks. We are the people that care.  Some say we are nerds, outsiders. Let them say whatever they want. We are proud. Proud to have a higher calling. We study, we think, we plan. Ultimately, we know. We know, deep inside, every detail. We shape the future. And now we have a home. #WeTheWonks.
Are you a wonk? If so, welcome to our little family.

 

Ben Peterson

CEO

Newsana and NewsanaPlus

 

P.S. Hit me up with any followups at ben (at) newsana.com.

Newsana Community Member Profile – Alexander Voevodin

Meet our Featured Community Member of the week Alexander Voevodin

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Dr. Alexander Voevodin is a world-renowned biomedical researcher and educator with the highest academic and professional degrees/qualifications (MD, PhD, DSc, FRCPath) and decades of teaching experience. Dr. Voevodin is perhaps best known as the former head of the HIV/AIDS Control Center of the Russian Federation, and as a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology. He has authored 80+ research papers in peer-reviewed journals in different fields of virology and immunology and several monographs, the most important of which is “Simian Virology”.

 

1. What makes a great social media site? 

My experience with social media is “platonic”. Ideally, I think, social media sites should do whatever possible to protect their user’s privacy, break language barriers, encourage cross cultural interactions and suppress trolling.

 

2. Where do you go for great content online? Why there?

My interests lay mainly in biomedical sciences. I screen major scientific and medical journals (Nature, Science, The Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine), science sections of major information agencies, and some sites devoted to science (my favourite is The Scientist).

 

3. What’s your favorite type of content (infographics, interviews, thought pieces, studies, etc) and why?

I am a professional scientist. If possible, I prefer to deal with original scientific publications in reputable journals or commentaries written by specialists.

 

4. Which of your Newsana pitches are you most proud of?

I enjoy contributing pitches to Newsana, but the word “proud” is an “overkill” for describing what I feel regarding any of my pitches. I am trying to do my best in providing a very short, easy-to-understand summary of the news and putting it in a context (“reality check”).

 

5. What’s the best part of Newsana?

The best part of Newsana is a built-in and reasonably unbiased mechanism for selecting news and prioritizing them.

Newsana Viral Video!

Hey there Newsana Junkies! We know you love Newsana, So not only can you be a part of the ever-growing community, But now we are offering the opportunity to join us in a Viral Video! Thats right. We are making a Video to promote NewsanaPlus! the newest service offered by the creative minds who bought you Newsana!

 

“Whats in it for me?” you may be asking, Well if you choose to join our venture into the viral video world, you will be entered into a contest. The MOST creative video we receive will be the winner! Newsana will promote your “online persona” Via Facebook, Twitter And Linkedin!

 

How do i send in my Video you may ask?! Good question! Please email: mark(@)newsana.com. He will send for information on where to go from there! Its so simple! All you need to do is tell us why you love Newsana!

See you guys online!

Thanks,

Lorne

Newsana Community Member Profile – Petite Fromage

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Newsana’s top new member is Petite Fromage
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A little about me:
Petite was born in Melbourne, Australia and being quite independent Petite moved out of home when I was 15. Completing my education while working full time was incredibly challenging but she was so grateful that she made this choice. Petite learnt the value of working hard to achieve her goals.In 2009 Petite went backpacking through Vietnam which ignited her passion for travel. Immersing myself in the Vietnamese culture, befriending some locals, visiting some of the sweatshops and orphanages was a real eye-opening experience; it has helped shape the person Petite  is today. It made me value the things in life that are typically taken for granted, it developed my passion for continued learning and to question my current value systems. Upon returning to Australia she began making smarter consumer choices and she stopped watching television entirely.

After her holiday abroad she wanted her work and life to have some meaning so Petite found employment for a not-for-profit organisation working in Human Resources. Although my employment was successful Petite always had an itch for more, it wasn’t her passion. Towards the end of 2012 Petite resigned from her role and began living a life that was meaningful to me rather than to conform to societies expectations of what a “life” should be.

In 2013 Petite set herself a “365 days of buy nothing new challenge” and she began her blog “Petite Fromage”. She travelled to Europe twice and had an incredible journey through Hungary, Germany, Austraia, Switzerland, France and Spain. Her interests vary, there isn’t a topic she doesn’t find interesting. Nutrition, science, social issues, psychology, art.. the list really continues. She generally have several projects going at any given time! Her main passion however is travel and photography. The world is such a big and beautiful place filled with so many interesting people! You can watch the National Geographic or other documentaries but to experience these moments first hand are incredible and life changing! What she love’s the most about travelling is not so much the perfect days where you sit in a hammock and do nothing, it’s the days that challenge you and can be a little confronting. Her favourite memories are definitely the unexpected moments.

This year Her goal is to improve my writing and photography skills, to kick-start a project She have been planning for over a year and to travel to Canada or South America. The quote She try live by is “go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
About the Picture: She was given the opportunity to present a documentary on Underwater Hockey in an television studio in Eger, Hunagry. This was taken after we had finished recording – She was wearing her pyjamas to make the experience a little more memorable!

Top 5 Pitches of the Week

Community members take the time to share articles of high quality content on Newsana.  On a weekly basis, the team features the “Top 5 Pitches of the Week”.  Top pitches are determined by number of votes and comments.  We want to know who is elevating the conversation!

This week the community was talking about the the transition of classroom to newsroom, the influence of Twitter on journalism, Kanye and the Confederate, India’s top police perspective on rape and Youtube’s change in policy.

1. Adam Hutton thinks outside of the box: Exploring Classrooms as Newsrooms 

2. Tim Doyle disputes the tweet: So Twitter is Ruining Everything? Really?

3.  Alistair Leyland waves attention to the controversial artist: Kanye West Just Rebranded the Confederate Flag for Himself

4. Kokulan Mahendiran addresses preventative measures: Outrage After India’s Top Policeman Ranjit Sinha says “If you can’t prevent rape, enjoy it”

5. David Sciacero spreads user outrage: Users Outraged Over Youtube’s Switch to Google + “Real Names” Policy

Newsana: Founders’ update, poetry edition

A message from our co-founders Ben and Jonathan to our community members:

Dearest Members (new and old),

 

We’re thrilled to be finally emerging from the cold,

And that we’ve had a big bump in www.newsana.com members enrolled,

So let’s be at our best and welcome all into the fold.

 

Please show all newbies that you have a heart of gold,

By voting and commenting on their stories so they take hold.

 

Together, we are doing something bold:

We are saying in with the best—and out with the mold,

We’ll find the most essential stories for the world to behold!

 

Many thanks and happy pitching,

Ben and Jonathan

Want to join in the fun? Request your Newsana invite at www.newsana.com/member/invite

Newsana: Founders’ Update

A message from our founders Ben and Jonathan to our members:

It’s been an amazing two weeks since we launched www.newsana.com into public beta. We’ve approved over 1000 members, site traffic has been off the charts and we’re amazed by all of the fantastic pitches and discussion.

Now, we need your help! Please invite a friend or colleague who would make a great addition to our community.

Whether it’s someone you know who’s passionate about a specific topics (and always posting/tweeting the best articles), or a friend who’s always popping up in your social networks with excellent comments, insight and humour, we’re asking that you use your ‘VIP invites’ (at http://www.newsana.com/member/sendinviteto personally invite them to join Newsana.

See, we could spend money on a big marketing campaign to attract a bunch of random people, but we believe that a quality community is grown form the ground up. We also believe that quality breeds quality, and that’s why we’re asking folks who’ve been making Newsana an awesome community (you) to help us attract others who will bring their great taste and smarts to the Newsana family.

Not a member yet? Request a Newsana invite at www.newsana.com/member/invite

Thanks and happy pitching,

Ben and Jonathan