A Night of Firsts


By Jordan 

While most people online Sunday night were checking the day’s baseball and football scores (Go Sox! Go Pats!), MSNBC.com quietly unveiled their first acquirement in its 11 year history –and its first foray into social media. Late Sunday night, everyone’s favorite homepage announced the acquisition of Newsvine, a news site continuously updated by “citizen journalism.”

Newsvine has gained recognition since its launch in March 2006 through its merging of mainstream reporting from the AP and ESPN, the crowdsourcing of individual contributors, as well as its user-driven ranking system of top stories as seen on competitors’ sites like Digg.com.

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More interesting however, is the trend of major brands purchasing smaller, independently run news aggregators and social media sites. In Newsvine’s case, uber-corporations Microsoft and General Electric (by way of NBC) have followed in the footsteps of Ebay’s acquisition of StumbleUpon.com, Wired.com’s purchase of Reddit and Yahoo! of De.lic.ious.

What remains to be seen is whether the influence of a bureaucratic Microsoft or the editors at NBC negatively effect what is essentially built as an open source news model. Newsvine CEO Mike Davidson has publicly promised for the site to continue to operate independently of its new owners. 

On the plus side, Newsvine will soon feature original MSNBC.com content on its site – a first among its competitors.

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