Can a new tech service that packages online news with social media features and a multi-tiered payment system (including subscriptions and micro-payments) save journalism?
That’s the question CircLabs, a new JV between the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) and a group of media entrepreneurs, will try to answer when it rolls out “Circulate,” a personalized news syndication service later this year.
Full details on how Circulate will work aren’t clear, but CircLabs says the service will use technology to solve two specific publisher problems: the issue of attracting “loyal” readers on both a local and national scale, and monetizing them effectively through both direct sales and advertising. The advertising—like the content—will be targeted based on user-supplied demographic info; CircLabs co-founder and principal Bill Densmore said Circulate will have “stringent protections” for consumer privacy built in from the start.
The product is an expansion on research Densmore conducted during an RJI fellowship over the past year; he’s joined by CircLabs principals Martin Langeveld (of Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab), Joe Bergeron (a product development expert and serial entrepreneur) and Jeffrey Vander Clute (also a software and systems developer). The company said it was in “conversations” with several strategic partners like the AP, though there were no official deals to announce yet. Release.