The media elite invests to make news more personal

News.me, Ongo, and Trove have either launched or plan to roll out personalized news services that promise to deliver more than keyword-based news aggregation.

In the news
News.me, Ongo, and Trove have either launched or plan to roll out personalized news services that promise to deliver users much more than keyword-based news aggregation.

Why does it matter?
Personalized news is suddenly hot again, with a host of well-funded new players, as well as business models that actually compensate news organizations for their stories.

Subscription-based Ongo, launched in January with backing from Gannett, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and others, lets users decide not only the topics they are interested in, but also the news organizations they want news from. "Then we have editors who sit on top of that, letting the users know if there's a story you should pay attention to, but also others you might find of interest," says Ongo chairman and CEO Alex Kazim.

Acquired from The New York Times R&D Lab by Bit.ly creator betaworks, News.me is described by beta-works cofounder/CEO John Borthwick as a socialized personalized news platform for the iPad and other tablets. Launched in late April, it charges 99 cents a week, connects to the user's Twitter account, and allows users to see not only the news links suggested by their friends, but their friends' friends, too.

An intriguing News.me feature - one PR pros will likely be very interested in - is a chance to get a glimpse into the news-gathering process by following the Twitter feeds and other streams of top journalists. "You can see what's in, say, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof's in-bound Twitter stream and what he's reading about," says Borthwick.

Key facts
1. Both Ongo and News.me have deals with top publishers including The Washington Post, the Associated Press, and The New York Times

2. In April, The Washington Post launched Trove, a free site that searches about 10,000 news sources and personalizes content through users' Facebook profiles

3. News.me, Trove, and Ongo join a host of other news aggregators such as Pulse, Zite, and Flipboard, most of which are aimed specifically at iPad users

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