Q&A: Aggregation and the Future of Local News

Hunting through thousands of local blogs for quality tidbits of regional interest is too time-consuming for overtaxed, understaffed news teams. Why not rely on clever algorithms, much the way Facebook manages social news? That logic has inspired news giants to place big bets this past year on aggregation. MSNBC bought automated news site EveryBlock.com, AOL (AOL) picked up local blog network Patch.com and CNN invested in Outside.in. The next target might be Fwix.com, an automated newswire with a silly name but serious ambition.

Led by CEO Darian Shirazi, 23, whose nascent career has already seen the launch of multiple startups and a stint at Facebook, Fwix signed a recent deal to provide aggregated local news for the New York Times Company (NYT). Fwix, founded in October 2008, sorts through about 200,000 pieces of news every day, analyzing and filtering stories from tens of thousands of local sources.

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