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3 Media Startups That Are Creating Content Just For You

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 3/26/2015

In days of print journalism, reporters and editors wrote stories that they assumed would interest their readership. Today, new media startups are figuring out what people are interested in before they create the content.

The success of any media company depends on its ability to attract and grow an audience. The audience in itself is valuable, because when you capture its attention, advertisers want a piece of the action. So the million-dollar question for today's media startups is, "What are people interested in?" And like any good reporter, these media startups are asking the hard questions.

New Forms of Journalism

#1 What's Old Is New

The History Project finds disparate information on the Internet to connect the dots and present a unified narrative of stories that matter to each user. The subjects could include "someone I love," "our family," "an organization," or, of course, "myself." THP describes it as "building a time capsule by curating the moments and memories that matter." It's still in beta, but you can sign up for an invitation on the THP homepage.

#2 Thinking Out Loud

Curious Nation invites the public to decide which stories they report on. This concept began as Curious City, a popular radio program on WBEZ in Chicago. Curious Nation is now marketing their platform for other newsrooms to use. The company is quick to distance their approach from "user-generated content" like Playbuzz. It still relies on a polished, responsible final product by professional journalists. Curious Nation is simply figuring out what people want to know before the organization commits the resources to find out.

#3 Going Deep

News Deeply, as its name suggests, dives deeper into topics such as the Syrian conflict and Ebola. They solicit suggestions from the public, and when interest reaches a tipping point, they cover that story from all angles. Their approach caters more to communities than discrete individuals, which could work to its advantage as interest begets more interest through discussion, social shares and debate. Follow them on Twitter here.

All three of these media startups grew out of Matter, a startup incubator focused on media companies and supported by the Knight Foundation, KQED and PRX.

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