Esteemed Members of the Newsvine Community,
It is our great pleasure to announce today that Newsvine has been acquired by msnbc.com. There are so many exciting things to share about this partnership and what it means for you that it's hard to know where to start. In the spirit of good journalism, let's start with the five W's: Who, What, Where, When, and Why.
Msnbc.com is a privately run news organization started by Microsoft and NBC in 1996. The site is one of the most decorated, highly trafficked news sites on the web, serving more than 29 million unique visitors per month. Contrary to popular belief, msnbc.com is run independently from both Microsoft and NBC and even the MSNBC news channel. It is its own organization, headquartered in Redmond, and has been growing and profitable for several years now. Msnbc.com employs about 200 people.
As desired by both companies from the outset, Newsvine will continue operating independently, just as it has been since launching in March of 2006. Msnbc.com is committed to maintaining and growing the community and features that have made Newsvine what it is today. In other words, Newsvine will be the same Newsvine you've always known, only stronger. Over the next few years, Newsvine technology and content will make its way onto msnbc.com, and vice-versa where it makes sense. Our users' columns and content will remain as they have been, as we work hard with msnbc.com to implement improvements and enhancements.
Seattle! Of course! This entire process, from courtship to marriage, took the entire summer, and although there were several companies who came knocking along the way, we're thrilled that the right partner just happened to be in our backyard. Working together is a hundred times more efficient when you're a 15 minute drive -- and not a plane flight -- apart. It's a big win for us, a big win for msnbc.com, and a big win for the region as well.
We officially became part of the msnbc.com family on Friday, October 5th but we've been talking since May. Since Newsvine launched, about a year and a half ago, we've fielded a lot of phone calls and emails from organizations inquiring about working together, but never did it seem quite as right as it did with the msnbc.com team.
Why would a young, efficient independent news startup become part of a large organization? For us, the answer is simple: it's all about growing the community and spreading the idea of participatory news as far and wide as possible. Although going from zero to over a million users a month in less than two years is heartening, msnbc.com operates on another scale entirely. While Newsvine may be well known in early adopter circles, we want every college student, every farmer, every weekend journalist, and every household to have their own branch on the 'Vine. In order to spread this idea further, we could have gone out and raised a lot of money, quadrupled our staff, and gone it alone, but when one of the finest news organizations in the world is headquartered right across Lake Washington, the potential of partnering with such a great team is dramatic. We feel strongly that we can learn from the successes of their experienced team, in a way that will empower Newsvine to become the worldwide mouthpiece of the citizen journalist.
So What Does It All Mean For You?
So many good things! Following is a list of things you can look forward to:
- Increased exposure for Newsvine writers. Remember when Killfile broke the news of the Virginia Tech shooting 22 minutes before the Associated Press? What about when Corey Spring got an exclusive interview with Dave Chappelle? When important moments like these occur on Newsvine, why shouldn't they also be put in front of 29 million people on msnbc.com? What about when a Newsviner builds up an audience for a weekly entertainment column like Steve Watts' Lost in the Vines? Why shouldn't great content like that be put on an even bigger stage? We think it should, and although Newsvine and msnbc.com will remain independent brands, we're going to spend the next several months figuring out ways to get the best content in front of the biggest audiences possible.
- A bigger, more diverse community. Msnbc.com's user base is spread across the world in every age, income, and demographic group. You'd be hard pressed to find a town in the United States which doesn't count some of its residents as readers. It is our hope that eventually, readers of both Newsvine and msnbc.com will be able to jump from site to site and share in the benefits that each destination offers.
- Speed, reliability and uptime. As a cost-conscious startup, Newsvine has made do with an efficient hardware footprint and no full- time operations staff. The upshot of this is keeping expenses down. The downside, however, is that during heavy spikes of activity and off-hour periods, the site can occasionally slow down or seem less reliable. Under this new partnership, Newsvine will move to the geographically redundant, world-class data centers that house msnbc.com. Bigger, faster machines and more of them. 24/7 monitoring. There may not be a news site in the world which scales better than msnbc.com, and we look forward to benefiting from their excellent infrastructure.
- A slightly bigger staff, able to evolve the site and provide features and support to the community without cutting any corners. Thus far, each Newsvine employee has had to wear a great variety of hats, and in some instances we have been strung very thin. The ability to add staff members in needed areas is crucial to our success as a business, as a web site and as a community. We look forward to providing excellent support and service to our users as our community grows dramatically during the forthcoming months and years. The team that set out to create the vision from day one will be freed up to continue developing the features and tools that make the magic of Newsvine possible. We will be armed with the resources and access to bring the best content produced by Newsviners to the world at large - bridging the gap between citizen and journalist.
- More news and images from more sources. Newsvine's mainstream news and images have always come directly from the Associated Press, and in fact, being the quickest wire-to-web news site in the world has always been something we've taken a lot of pride in. However, with the welcoming of msnbc.com into the fold, we now have the potential to bring you more of the best reporting in the world and some of the most stunning news imagery you'll ever see online.
...and so much more.
We're so excited about all that's in store for the both the msnbc.com and Newsvine community in the weeks, months, and years to come, and we hope you'll join us in helping spread the cause of participatory news to every household with a story to tell or a thought to share.