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CJR's Guide to Online News Startups

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  1. Oct 26, 2011 06:00 PM

    Berkeleyside

    News and notes from California's most quotable town

    By Daniel Luzer

    Berkeleyside.png BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA — Frances Dinkelspiel had worked as a journalist for two decades--reporting for the Syracuse Newspapers and the San Jose Mercury News--before she and two other colleagues started Berkeleyside.com. In Dinkelspiel's opinion, Berkeley is too interesting a city not to have its own hyperlocal news site. "The University of California's here, it has this really long liberal radical political tradition, it's the...

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  2. Aug 18, 2011 12:25 PM

    Birthplace Magazine

    News and reviews for the NYC hip hop scene

    By Julia Pyper

    BirthplaceMag.png NEW YORK, NEW YORK — Birthplace Magazine was created with a mission: to highlight the best of New York hip hop. The name comes from New York's status as the musical genre's hometown. Built on a solid foundation of ideas and expertise, the website has gained momentum, but now faces a number of marketing and editorial challenges before it can continue to expand....

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  3. Dec 5, 2011 11:54 AM

    Brownstoner

    Covering (and riding) Brooklyn's real estate wave

    By Maura R. O'Connor

    brownstoner.png BROOKLYN, NEW YORK — In 2004, a number of forces inspired Jonathan Butler to launch popular Brooklyn-based website Brownstoner.com. He was working at a hedge fund in Manhattan, a job that was losing its luster for him. A self-described real estate junkie, he had just submerged himself in the city's market for months and finally purchased a brownstone house in a quickly gentrifying...

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  4. Mar 25, 2011 01:38 PM

    CaryCitizen

    Proud proponents of upbeat hyperlocal news

    By Victoria Rau

    Cary.Citizen.png CARY, NORTH CAROLINA — Founder and publisher Hal Goodtree knew he was onto something with CaryCitizen when The New York Times referenced his coverage of the arrest of a local terrorism suspect on his site's third day of existence. Although the town had a local newspaper, The Cary News, its coverage focused on other towns in addition to Cary, and Goodtree felt that he could...

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  5. Jan 28, 2012 01:43 PM

    CHARLIE Magazine

    Perfecting the local online glossy in Charleston, South Carolina

    By Chris Benz

    charlie.magazine.png CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA — "When you start something, what your role ends up being is quite different than what you imagined it to be," says Caroline Nuttall, founder of CHARLIE, a local culture magazine based in Charleston, South Carolina. Originally a publicist, Nuttall founded the website in 2009, and expanded it successfully to a niche market, profitability, and a part-time staff of...

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  6. Feb 23, 2012 05:33 PM

    Charlottesville Tomorrow

    Nonprofit news on growth, development, and local politics

    By Caitlin Kasunich

    charlottesville.tomorrow.png CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA — Although Charlottesville Tomorrow publishes a new story almost every day and has a close partnership with the local newspaper, it wasn't supposed to turn out that way. In early 2005, its founders simply wanted to launch a website that citizens could visit for objective, nonpartisan information on growth, development and local politics. "We set out to just be a community...

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  7. Mar 24, 2011 03:31 PM

    Columbus Underground

    Entertainment and events coverage with a civic bent

    By Connor Boals

    Columbus.Underground.png COLUMBUS, OHIO — Launched in 2001, Columbus Underground was founding editor Walker Evans's answer to a lack of online resources for Columbus's nightlife scene. A devoted fan of his city, Evans grew the site from a social calendar to a resource that helps the local community stay informed on just about everything Ohio's capital city has to offer. With 2.1 million visits and 8.5...

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  8. Jul 21, 2011 05:46 PM

    Common Language Project

    In-depth human rights reporting and multimedia storytelling

    By Connor Boals

    CommonLanguageProject.png SEATTLE, WASHINGTON —In 2005, three friends on their way to becoming freshly anointed college grads had an idea. They were budding journalists with global ambitions who didn't want to sit on their hands while foreign coverage in American newspapers continued to fade. The three, Sarah Stuteville, Alex Stonehill, and Jessica Partnow, decided to take a trip to about a dozen countries in Southeast Asia and...

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  9. May 18, 2011 12:59 PM

    Crosscut.com

    Robust nonprofit local news coverage for Seattle

    By Sara Germano

    crosscutcom.png SEATTLE, WASHINGTON — David Brewster couldn't have been the only Seattle citizen concerned about the potential demise of one of his local papers, but back in the mid-aughts, he was ahead of the curve. In 2006, Brewster, a thirty-five-year veteran of the local media landscape and the founder of alternative newspaper Seattle Weekly, was phasing out of his role as director of Town Hall Seattle, a...

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  10. Sep 27, 2011 04:52 PM

    Dallas South News

    Making the move from blog to nonprofit news site

    By Timothy Bella

    dallas.south.news.png DALLAS, TEXAS — Shawn Williams was in pharmaceutical sales for nine years before starting his personal blog in 2006. The blog was about South Dallas, an area of more than 500,000 people. He says he first started the blog to try to combat negative images of the African American community that he saw in the mainstream media. When he was let go from his job...

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  11. Apr 10, 2013 02:51 PM

    District

    A student voice from the Savannah College of Art and Design

    By Meredith Qualls

    District.png SAVANNAH, GA — After beginning in 1995 as a weekly student-run print publication at the Savannah College of Art and Design, District relaunched as an online-only in 2008, becoming part of the early wave of student publications to scrap their print product. "We wanted to go digital because we felt like that was where the industry was headed, and all of our students...

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  12. Mar 24, 2011 10:41 PM

    ecoRI

    Community engagement through environmental news (and composting)

    By Daniel Denvir

    ecoRi.png PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND — Frank Carini, a Boston native with an accent to match, has gone from sports writing to composting. He founded ecoRI.com in September 2009 after spending twenty years at newspapers on the North Shore in Massachusetts, Cincinnati, and in Newport, Rhode Island. "I was getting sick of the direction of where we were going," he says. "Too much covering press releases and...

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  13. Dec 13, 2011 11:28 AM

    Eugene Daily News

    Sports and lifestyle news for Eugene, Oregon

    By David Riedel

    eugene.daily.news.png EUGENE, OREGON — When publisher Kelly Asay and his business partner Jeff Tunnell, the two co-owners of the Eugene Daily News, launched the site in February 2011, they had no journalism experience. The entrepreneurs and video game developers thought their expertise with the Internet and digital media would help them avoid the difficulties that some print, radio, and television news outlets have struggled...

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  14. Jan 3, 2011 04:31 PM

    GigaOM

    The site offers predictive technology coverage, and has itself been a leader in earning web revenue

    By Sean Gandert

    gigaom.png SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — What started out as a personal blog that combined former Forbes and Business 2.0 reporter Om Malik's mutual interests in technology and opinionated blogging has become a full-fledged business. Despite running an editorial staff of twelve and working as a "jack of all trades" for the site's business and technology sides, Malik still personally writes on GigaOm nearly every day....

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  15. Jul 27, 2011 02:48 PM

    Gotham Gazette

    Detailed reporting on New York City governance

    By Connor Boals

    GothamGazette.png NEW YORK, NEW YORK — It's no secret that many Americans are shamefully uninformed about their elected representatives, particularly at the local level. The blame for this can often go as much to local press as to citizens themselves, but thanks to Gotham Gazette, an online source for what's happening in the world of NYC government, citizens of the nation's largest metropolis will...

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  16. Jan 4, 2011 02:10 PM

    Investigative Newsource

    Investigative journalism for San Diego and beyond

    By Colin Fleming

    watchdoginstitute.png SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA — Investigative editor Lorie Hearn does it all. She runs the business, raises the funds, edits the stories, does the books, and dusts the office. She even brings the bagels and cream cheese. Hearn, a former editor for the San Diego Union-Tribune, now leads Investigate Newsource, formerly known as The Watchdog Institute, a three-person nonprofit investigative outlet run out of San...

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  17. Oct 6, 2011 05:15 PM

    MediaStorm

    Multimedia outlet meets production house

    By Lauren Kirchner

    MediaStorm.png BROOKLYN, NEW YORK — Above the cobblestone streets of Brooklyn's DUMBO neighborhood, the producers, engineers, and cinematographers of MediaStorm are producing some of the most arresting and moving stories online today. While side-stepping the news cycle in favor of more timeless features, their particular brand of multimedia narrative is attracting online viewers from 170 countries around the globe. It has also helped the...

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  18. Jul 5, 2011 02:37 PM

    NEast Philly

    Neighborhood news for working-class Philadelphia

    By Alex Fekula

    NEastPhilly.png PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA — While still an undergraduate journalism major at Temple University, Shannon McDonald launched the hyperlocal NEast Philly, an online only news source that provides daily coverage for the Northeast section of Philadelphia. In the site's own words, NEast Philly offers "daily news, analysis, multimedia, columns and commentary on everything that interests the proud, working-class neighborhoods of The NEast." <li...

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  19. May 25, 2011 01:12 PM

    New West

    News, analysis, and culture reporting for the Rocky Mountain region

    By David Downs

    New.West.png MISSOULA, MONTANA — All over the harsh terrain of the Rocky Mountains, local fears of rampant development burst with the real estate bubble, leaving communities to confront a new enemy: economic stagnation. On the frontier of the struggle is New West, a six-year-old digital guide to news, analysis, and culture for the Rocky Mountain region. Based in Missoula, Montana, and Boulder, Colorado, the company's...

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  20. Dec 29, 2010 03:17 PM

    NJ Spotlight

    Trenton's statehouse startup

    By Lauren Kirchner

    NJ_Spotlight.png TRENTON, NEW JERSEY — NJSpotlight.com, which CJR profiled in September 2010, is a policy-focused news site based in the Trenton, N.J. state house. Launched in early 2010 by two former Newark Star-Ledger reporters, John Mooney and Tom Johnson, the site focuses on issues relating to the state budget, environmental and energy legislation, education policy, and health care. "We are nonpartisan, independent, policy-centered and community-minded," says...

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  21. Sep 20, 2011 02:23 PM

    Open Media Boston

    Boston news and progressive commentary

    By Evan MacDonald

    openmediaboston.png BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS — About five years ago, Jason Pramas identified what he calls a "metropolitan news vacuum" in Boston. He noticed that local news outlets were focusing more on beats like entertainment and sports than on local issues like labor strikes, social injustice, and community news. At the time, Pramas was a Ph.D candidate in public policy at the University of Massachusetts-Boston with an acute...

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  22. Jul 18, 2011 11:55 AM

    paidContent

    Covering the business of digital media since 2002

    By Joel Meares

    paidcontent.png NEW YORK, NEW YORK — In 2008, when Guardian News & Media bought Rafat Ali's ContentNext Media, Ali wrote that the acquisition marked the "2.0 phase" of his company. It was an aptly webby phrase from the man who six years earlier founded ContentNext's flagship site, paidContent.org, with the aim of obsessively covering the economics of the then just-emerging world...

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  23. Dec 29, 2010 04:40 PM

    Pitchfork

    The prolific online music reviewer/kingmaker

    By Sean Gandert

    Pitchfork.png CHICAGO, IL — Founded in 1995 as an Internet alternative to traditional music fanzines, Pitchfork has become a force within the music industry every bit as vital as Rolling Stone or Spin. While somewhat controversial due to its highly opinionated reviews, Pitchfork has a reputation for being able to spot new talent and bring them to a much wider audience. Bands such...

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  24. Aug 16, 2011 11:54 AM

    Planet Princeton

    One reporter goes from freelance to Facebook to hyperlocal

    By Leah Binkovitz

    PlanetPrinceton.png PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY — When friends and readers complained to Princeton-based reporter Krystal Knapp that they couldn't find her stories on NJ.com, a combined web presence for papers owned by Advance Publications in New Jersey, she decided to start her own site serving the city she loves. Knapp was, and continues to be, a freelancer for The Times of Trenton, but she wanted...

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  25. Jul 29, 2011 01:42 AM

    PubliCola

    Extensive political coverage for Seattle and Washington state

    By Alex Fekula

    Publicola.png SEATTLE, WASHINGTON — [UPDATE: After briefly ceasing operations in May 2012 due to "limited and inconsistent" ad revenue, Publicola was purchased in mid-June 2012 by SagaCity Media, owner of the Seattle Metropolitan magazine and other properties, for an undisclosed sum. The new web publication is called PubliCola at SeattleMet. Popular features like "Morning Fizz," "Afternoon Jolt," and and "ThinkTank" continue to be published,...

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  26. Mar 25, 2011 02:41 PM

    Rio Grande Guardian

    An online-only news source for South Texas

    By Justin Yang

    rio.grande.guardian.png MCALLEN, TEXAS — In July of 2005, Steve Taylor and his partner Melinda Barerra sold their Isuzu Rodeo for seed money and launched the first online-only news site in the Texas border region. The site, called the Rio Grande Guardian, bills itself as "the internet newspaper of south Texas," and covers the Rio Grande Valley, which consists of the four counties that make up...

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  27. Jul 28, 2011 03:16 PM

    Rust Wire

    Reporting on urban and social issues in the Rust Belt

    By Anthony Badami

    RustWire.png CLEVELAND, OHIO — Rust Wire, a collaborative media project which bills itself as "a voice for change in the Industrial Midwest," was founded in 2009 by Angie Schmitt and Kate Giammarise in order to challenge the notion that some economically enfeebled towns in the Midwestern United States "weren't worth saving." The site, which features original reporting and photography, first-person essays, and opinion...

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  28. Jan 25, 2012 12:56 AM

    Sheepshead Bites

    Hyperlocal stories by the seaside in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn

    By Caitlin Kasunich

    sheepshead.bites.png BROOKLYN, NEW YORK — Nearly four years ago, the late renowned Brooklyn blogger Robert Guskind pointed out in his coverage of the 2008 Brooklyn Blogfest the pressing need for hyperlocal news sites in the borough's least-covered communities. "While some neighborhoods like Carroll Gardens and Park Slope are written about at length, others, such as Sunset Park and Sheepshead Bay - where...

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  29. Nov 28, 2011 11:08 AM

    Silicon Prairie News

    A home on the range for Midwest tech coverage

    By Maura R. O'Connor

    silicon.prairie.news.png OMAHA, NEBRASKA — In the summer of 2008, Jeff Slobotski was working for the sales team of a technology company in New York City but living in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. During his travels around the country for work, he kept getting asked, "What's going on in Omaha?" Slobotski knew that, contrary to popular belief, there was a lot going on in Omaha, including...

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  30. Dec 31, 2010 12:24 AM

    Slate

    The Internet's old guard general interest publication has never slowed down

    By Sean Gandert

    Slate.png NEW YORK, NEW YORK — "Slate's overall mission is to create really intelligent, witty, durable web journalism; [that mission] has been more or less the same since 1996," says David Plotz, the site's editor. Slate is perhaps best known as one of the first publications to prove that a high-quality editorial product could exist and thrive online, but it didn't earn that reputation...

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  31. May 31, 2011 11:48 AM

    Street Fight

    A news source for the burgeoning hyperlocal industry

    By Arvin Temkar

    StreetFight.png BOULDER, COLORADO — A site named "Street Fight" has to deliver action, and the brand new site dedicated to covering the hyperlocal industry expects to do just that-- though it's probably not the kind of action a teenager who stumbles onto the site after a Google search would expect. Hyperlocal is becoming big business. While the term usually refers to local news, Street Fight...

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  32. Dec 30, 2010 02:23 PM

    TechCrunch

    The tech startup news news startup

    By Sean Gandert

    techcrunch.png SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — From the very beginning, TechCrunch was part and parcel with Web 2.0. Founded by Michael Arrington in 2005, the site began as a personal technology blog but rapidly transitioned into a full-scale publication, drawing in millions of page views a month by the end of 2007. Unlike most of his peers, Arrington didn't come from a journalistic background, instead studying...

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  33. May 2, 2011 04:17 PM

    Technically Philly

    Detailed coverage of the Philadelphia tech scene

    By Daniel Denvir

    Technically.Philly.png PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA — Like so many young journalism school graduates, Sean Blanda, Brian James Kirk, and Christopher Wink could not find jobs in 2008. Philadelphia's two dailies had shed hundreds of positions, and plenty of highly experienced older reporters were ready to apply for anything that opened up. The job market was, "in a word, awful," says Blanda. "The three of us felt like we...

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  34. Oct 27, 2011 02:56 PM

    The Bay Citizen

    Local civic journalism in the national spotlight

    By Lauren Kirchner

    bay.citizen.png SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — [UPDATE: In May 2012, the Bay Citizen merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, the oldest nonprofit investigative news organization in the United States and the parent of state-level investigative nonprofit California Watch. The merger allowed the organizations to expand their reporting resources, save money, and diversify their funding base. The merger brought together 75...

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  35. Mar 31, 2011 11:40 AM

    The Bold Italic

    Gannett's bold move in consumer-oriented journalism

    By Kathy Gilsinan

    The.Bold.Italic.png SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — The Bold Italic is an experiment. Slickly designed but still in "beta," the Gannett-owned San Francisco website has an image-heavy layout, an alt-weekly feel, and a focus on helping its readers find new places to spend their free time. "It's not meant to replace anything" in the San Francisco print media, says Michael Maness, who, as Gannett's vice president of...

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  36. Dec 14, 2011 02:12 PM

    The Heavy Table

    Food journalism and criticism for the upper Midwest

    By Leah Binkovitz

    the.heavy.table.png MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA — Food journalism is reaching a zenith of popularity and cool. Scores of people tune in to watch Anthony Bourdain search the world for something to eat. The New York Times's food critic leaves his post and readers across the country speculate over replacements. But the tide of foodie attention has also brought us endless comment chains on Yelp!, countless half-hearted blogs, and...

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  37. Mar 24, 2011 12:20 PM

    The Lens

    Investigative reporting on The Big Easy

    By Brendan Buhler

    The.Lens.png NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA — Launched in January 2010, The Lens is an eight-person nonprofit investigative news website partnered with weekly papers and a local television station in New Orleans. The site aims to fill the gaps that are no longer being covered by New Orleans's cash-strapped traditional news operations. Right now, The Lens's goal is to produce big, investigative stories every two weeks, and...

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  38. Apr 20, 2012 06:22 PM

    The Local East Village

    NYU student reporting for the NYT

    By Maura R. O'Connor

    east.vallage.local.png NEW YORK, NEW YORK — In 2009, The New York Times made drastic changes in its approach to local news. The year saw the closure of the papers City section, but also the launch of The Local. A web-based hyperlocal reporting initiative, The Local created two separate sections of nytimes.com: one devoted to the Brooklyn neighborhood of Fort Greene and...

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  39. Dec 29, 2010 02:01 PM

    The St. Louis Beacon

    "News that matters" for St. Louis

    By Kathy Gilsinan

    stlbeacon.png St. LOUIS, MISSOURI — Margaret Freivogel's thirty-four years as a reporter and editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch came to an end when she took a buyout in 2005. "Several of us took buyouts without any intention of doing anything else at that point," Freivogel says. "We were just kind of weary." But within a year, Freivogel and a few former colleagues had begun work on...

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  40. Jun 7, 2011 11:27 AM

    Twin Cities Daily Planet

    Citizen-powered local news for Minneapolis and St. Paul

    By Armin Rosen

    twin_cities_daily_planet.png MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA — The Twin Cities Daily Planet focuses on a combination of neighborhood-level news and coverage of progressive, social justice-related issues in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. But it wants to be more than just a news-gathering operation. The Daily Planet is just as committed to creating journalists--or, perhaps more accurately, citizens who engage with their communities through journalism--as it is to publishing them,...

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  41. Feb 22, 2012 01:38 PM

    Welles Park Bulldog

    News and sports for Chicago's North Side

    By Ian Fullerton

    welles.park.bulldog.png CHICAGO, ILLINOIS — The Welles Park Bulldog takes its name from a picturesque public park in Chicago's Ravenswood neighborhood, and delivers insight and opinion on politics, culture, and sports for a dense stretch of residential and mixed-use boroughs on Chicago's North Side. The site's founder and publisher, Patrick Boylan, first had the idea that would eventually become the Bulldog in 2009. "I had...

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  42. Oct 31, 2011 02:26 PM

    YubaNet

    Online news stretching the Sierras

    By Tyler Jones

    yubanet.png NEVADA CITY, CALIFORNIA — "The legacy media don't see this area as a market," says Pascale Fusshoeller, editor and co-founder of YubaNet in Nevada City, California. When looking at a map of the Sierra Nevada, one can understand why. The Range of Light, as John Muir described it, stretches 400 sparsely populated miles along California's Central Valley, containing the...

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