Los Angeles Business Journal

Calacanis Launches Inside, a Newsreader App

By Tom Dotan Tuesday, January 28, 2014

In the media world there’s no shortage of handwringing about the effects of news aggregators such as Business Insider or the more frivolous lists from BuzzFeed.

While both these sites tout serious works, and defend the banner content as necessary traffic bait to underwrite the real stuff, Calacanis is unimpressed.

Especially with the recent trend of faux-emotional headlines, popularized by Upworthy, that are engineered to appeal to social media streams. And are frequently misleading.

“That kind of stuff is so over the top that I think it’s ruining journalism,” he said. “I think we’re correcting what they overdid.”

With Inside, he says the focus is entirely on the original report. But unlike the crew that’s producing content for Circa, a competing newsreader app out of the Bay Area, Inside’s freelancers are not journalists. Rather they’re expert news readers and sourcers, led by Gabriel Snyder, a former editor at Gawker and most recently the editor in chief of the Wire (Atlantic Magazine’s online site).

The grand vision is to make Inside the starting point for news. It’s a gateway that leads people to the story without any of the modern Web trickery.

That isn’t to say Calacanis imagines Inside as an age where many of today’s most popular news sites don’t exist. It just tries to flip their script.

“We’re aggregating the aggregators,” Calacanis said. “BuzzFeed and Business Insider are doing a lot of the heavy lifting for us and we thank them.”

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