Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

With Pulse Following Zite’s Lead, Mark Johnson Talks About News Reading App Landscape

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Earlier this week, I reported that LinkedIn was readying a purchase of Pulse, one of the more popular of the many news reader apps, for upward of $50 million.

By coincidence, only days before, I had done a video interview with Mark Johnson, CEO of
Zite, which was bought by CNN for $20 million in mid-2011.

Since then, the San Francisco-based startup has remained relatively independent, said Johnson, although it’s a delicate balance.

In December, Zite released new versions of its Apple iPhone and iPad apps that aggregate a variety of content, expanding its offerings to more than 40,000 interest topics for its magazine-style offering.

The redesign got a lot of criticism, including from Katherine Boehret, and some of the changes were rolled back.

In any case, here’s my interview with Johnson, which touches on a number of topics, including what it’s like to get bought (pay attention, Pulse guys!):


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald