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Monday, March 8, 2010

From Media Writer to Mediagazer: S.F.'s Megan McCarthy Launches Meta Aggregator

Posted By on Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 8:00 AM

As technology - and the Internet in particular - has morphed into a horizontal vs. vertical industry, it's seeped its way into much of what we do. The way we consume media is no exception; between the debates over how the newspaper industry will survive to how the Disney-Cablevision fight will pan out, these days it's hard to avoid headlines concerning the friction between "new media" and "old media." Caught somewhere between navel gazing and stargazing, media now routinely and heatedly covers, well, itself. Which is why today's launch of media news aggregator site Mediagazer comes as no surprise.

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA FLICKR/YANNIS

Itself an embodiment of the convergence of the tech and editorial worlds, Mediagazer is part algorithmic, part editorial curation of media-related news. The brainchild of Gabe Rivera, creator of the go-to tech news aggregator Techmeme, and Megan McCarthy, Techmeme's first human editor, it's a site that serves as a "map of the media landscape," says McCarthy. And she would know; prior to launching the site, McCarthy was a writer for both Gawker and Wired.

Mediagazer Founding Editor Megan McCarthy - PHOTO VIA FLICKR/LAUGHING SQUID
  • Photo via Flickr/Laughing Squid
  • Mediagazer Founding Editor Megan McCarthy

To McCarthy, who remembers being glued to CNN as a kid and the Internet as an adult in order to digest every piece of a story, Mediagazer "provides a better understanding of the bigger picture." So in the case of the Disney-Cablevision story, for instance, within a quick glance, you can see that it's a widely covered story, see who's covering it and where you can go to find the most contextual posts - whether they originate from a personal Wordpress blog or The New York Times. It thereby provides the type of context a reader needs to navigate through the daily barrage of media-related stories and gain a better understanding of the overarching debates and themes. And on the flip side, it provides writers with a platform to quickly see how other writers/publications may have weighed in on what they have written. In all its meta splendor, Mediagazer "doesn't replace, but augments" the way we consume media news, linking directly to the original content sources.

What's more is that on a monthly basis, following in the footsteps of its Techmeme sibling, the new site will also champion a leaderboard chronicling the publications it features most frequently (the first leaderboard will emerge a month after launch). Leaderboard dominance will likely add some industry validation to publications that consistently deliver the type of coverage that catches McCarthy's eye and/or the algorithm's radar. Who knows? Perhaps this measurement will also grow to become something of a bragging right among publications in their attempt to attract advertisers.

As for Mediagazer, it's launching with not one but four sponsors, which McCarthy reeled in herself as part of her overall role in running the site -- from her apartment in the Mission, nonetheless. When asked about what the launch means to her on a personal level, she relates back to when AOL CEO Tim Armstrong referred to Google, his previous employer, as a media company, while pegging AOL a tech company. "The convergence of tech and media has always fascinated me," she says. Now we get to gaze right along with her.

Follow us on Twitter at @mbaratz and @sfweekly.

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Maya Baratz


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