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A Different Kind of ‘Snow’ Fall: WSJ Assesses Contently

As depressing as it can sometimes be, in journalism and elsewhere, the old adage – ‘Follow the money’ – still holds true.

ShaneSnowThumbIn this case, we’re talking about $9 million in Series B funding for Contently, a company founded by Shane Snow (pictured), Joe Coleman and Dave Goldberg. Per Wall Street Journal startups, tech and venture capital reporter Lora Kolodny, the company is looking to stake its claim of the ever-expanding realm of Houdini journalism (our term, not hers). From her article:

In typical content marketing, companies ask writers, designers and photographers to employ journalistic skills to create commissioned blog posts, infographics and multimedia stories. The stories help their businesses persuade prospects or customers to follow them online, buzz about their brands, and hopefully buy what they’re selling.

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Mediabistro Course

Freelancing 101 Online Boot Camp

Freelancing 101Starting April 28, this online event will show you the best way to start your freelancing career, from the first steps of self-advertising and marketing, to building your schedule and managing clients. By the end of this online boot camp you will have a plan for making a profitable career as a freelancer, and the skill set to devote yourself to it. Register now! 

Greenwald Venture Gets a Name: First Look Media

PMO Headshot Studio_Michele ClementIt doesn’t get much better these media days than a billionaire backer and a Honolulu dateline. NUY prof Jay Rosen posted today that the Glenn Grennwald-Pierre Omidyar (pictured) venture that he is now also a part of will be called First Look Media:

First Look Media is made up of several entities, including a company established to develop new media technology and a separate nonprofit journalism organization. The journalism operation, which will be incorporated as a 501(c)(3), will enjoy editorial independence, and any profits eventually earned by the technology company are committed to support First Look’s mission of independent journalism. The name of First Look Media’s initial digital publication is yet to be announced.

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Serial Entrepreneur Finds Success with YuuZoo

YuuZooLogoIt’s likely you have not heard of YuuZoo, an Australian developer of social network mini-sites for mobile clients. But you have certainly heard of some the firm’s clients.

Here in New York, they include Hearst and NBTV. Down Under, the list encompasses the Asian arm of the NBA and Miss World. Founded by 41-year-old serial entrepreneur Ron Creevey, the company is about to get a “backdoor” listing on the Singapore stock exchange. The Australian‘s Glenda Korporaal spoke with Creevey recently and got this great quote:

“It is exciting to see something that you designed on a blank piece of paper to be traded at a value in excess of $400M.”

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Jay Rosen Gets More Details About Glenn Greenwald Venture

For Glenn Greenwald‘s quickly revealed billionaire backer Pierre Omidyar, it started in Honolulu and continued in Washington D.C.

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In a telephone conversation with NYU prof and journalism seer Jay Rosen, Omidyar explained how his experiences with the website Honolulu Civil Beat led to a failed attempt to buy WaPo and a successful attempt to commit to the next (other) big thing:

Omidyar said that his involvement in Civil Beat whetted his appetite to do something larger in news. “I have always been of the opinion that the right kind of journalism is a critical part of our democracy.” He said he had watched closely over the last 15 years as the business model in journalism collapsed but had not “found a way to engage directly.”

But then when the idea of buying the Washington Post came up he started to think about it more seriously. “It brings together some of my interests in civic engagement and building conversations and of course technology, but in a very creative way.”

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Former LA Times Tech Reporter Bets on Lighthaus

David Sarno is ready to roll up his sleeves. Per a nifty item in Fast Company by Nicole Laporte, he has completed a John S. Knight journalism fellowship at Stanford and is preparing to pitch investors on his startup Lighthaus.

The San Francisco-based enterprise is all about creating high-end interactive touchscreen graphics to go along with online newspaper and magazine stories. For his final Stanford project, Sarno created a $5,000 graphic depicting the intricacies of natural gas fracking. From Laporte’s piece:

Lighthaus has already drummed up interest. The Dallas Morning News is working with Sarno to create its own fracking graphic, and Stanford Medicine magazine has commissioned Lighthaus to create technology to explain the medical condition known as placenta accreta.

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Florida Startup Pitches Tim Armstrong About Hyper-Local

The August 22 post on New Tampa Patch by Skylar Hedstrom is only ten words long. Although it does manage to properly embed a recent video pitch to AOL CEO Tim Armstrong from local startup UNATION, the fact that the “article” contains no additional commentary or quick interview quote from the nearby Tampa firm reinforces just how hyper-challenged the AOL network remains.*

UNATION has been beta testing its own hyper-local product for the past two years. In late October, the company will officially launch its free event listing service. As the the site grows, UNATION hopes to convince users to add premium services and draw in like-minded advertisers.

“Last spring, we were at the AOL offices in New York,” UNATION co-founder and chief strategy officer George Beardsley tells FishbowlNY. “We weren’t ready to show them anything, as we were still in alpha testing at that point. The topic of Patch did not come up.”

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Trigger Media Entrepreneurs Always Hoping for More Cowbell

That’s because at the New York offices of Trigger Media, the accelerator home for event planning hub hostcommittee.com, there is a cowbell. And each time a HostCommittee milestone is reached or exciting venture news needs to be shared, the bell is rung a la Trader Joe’s.

E! Online assistant fashion & trends editor Rose Curiel chatted with HostCommittee co-founders (and NYC roommates) Carli Roth, Yvonne Najor. The site work schedule is pretty insane, with the pair generally involved in multiple nighttime events four out of every five weekdays:

Yvonne: In the morning, I talk to people who are interested in throwing an event with us from birthdays to non-profit fundraisers. In the afternoon, I pair hosts to the right venue…

In the evening, I usually have different groups of hosts over to the office for dinner and drinks. I show them how our platform works and then take them out to one of our events so they can see how it works from beginning to end, which can sometimes include six parties in a single night.

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Recommendations App Localeur Expanding to NYC

Localeur.com is a 2013 startup on the rise. They’ve received quick recognition from the Austin Chamber of Commerce and SXSW Interactive; in their first six months, they’ve hit not just Austin but also Houston and San Francisco; and the App is already a part of Google’s Field Trip.

Next month, Localeur – which relies on locals to make various product and service recommendations – will ramp up in the Big Apple. From today’s announcement:

New York residents slotted to contribute include: Jace Lipstein, founder of popular lifestyle site Grungy Gentleman; Susan Morgan, of influential brand agency Team Epiphany; Whitney Pozgay, designer of women’s wear brand WHIT; Luke McCann, a Brooklyn-based fashion designer and electronic music promoter; and Dre Hayes, co-founder of The Foundation, who is also an investor in Localeur among dozens of others.

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PandoDaily Visits NYT TimeSpace Accelerator

There are three Internet ventures currently being incubated just below the New York Times cafeteria as part of the paper’s TimeSpace accelerator. They are: Mahaya, Delve and OpBandit.

Mahaya is beta-testing Seen, an aggregation tool for content shared via social media. Here for example is a taste of how that product summarized the fast-breaking events surrounding the crash of Asiana Flight 214 at SFO:

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The Blot Aims for Intersection of Sex and Scandal

The origins of The Blot, a new digital magazine that officially launched last week out of modest Manhattan digs, is so far what’s most fascinating about the site. From Dan Orlando’s New York Business Journal piece:

“The project was inspired by a friend,” said publisher and editor-in-chief Neil St. Clair, “who had been wronged in the press many years ago, and found, that despite all her efforts, she couldn’t be made whole.”

St. Clair, who spent time as a YNN and NY1 television reporter, continued that “there was no verified platform to tell her side of the story. [Alex Geana and I] set out to create one that would give people a chance to be heard.”

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