Ex-Jobster CEO Raises Funds for Personal News Feed

Mar 13, 2008
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Ex Jobster CEO Jason Goldberg has started a new networking site called Social|Median, an early-development social news site he coins a “Facebook for real news.”

Incorporated in Delaware in February, Goldberg’s latest venture appears to be a way for readers to get news in a personalized form, though he promises it’s not a Digg clone.

He writes on Silicon Alley Insider that his team is “trying to take a fresh approach to a big problem that a lot of folks face: How best to discover, organize, and share the rapidly increasing volume of news and information out there.”

Even journalism stalwarts seem to think it’s a good idea, as the venerable Washington Post has coughed up some money to help.

The newspaper’s Washington Post Newsweek Interactive group has invested an undisclosed amount of venture capital, according to the Silicon Alley Insider. This seed money is in addition to the $1 million round first disclosed by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer last month.

At the time, Goldberg told the Seattle P-I that he wants “to apply some of the lessons we learned at Jobster and be slow and methodical. I don’t think you need to raise a lot of money these days to get some traction.”

He hinted at the time that his startup may partner with established online news organizations. Now that he is teaming with the Washington Post investors, the question that comes to mind is how Social|Median will create value for users, and how it will create money for investors.

In late 2007, Goldberg left his job as CEO at Seattle-based Jobster, where he helped to raise about $48 million for the company. Rafat Ali, editor of Paid Content, says Allen Morgan, a managing director at Mayfield (and an investor in Jobster) is on the advisory board of Goldberg’s new company.

Despite his claims it won’t copy Digg, what about competition from other popular sites (i.e., Reddit, Newsvine)?

Steve Rothberg of notes on his blog that is already beating Goldberg’s Social|Median to the punch.

Rothberg says Alltop is “a site which helps its users explore their passions by collecting stories from ‘all the top’ sites on the Web. They’ve grouped these collections – ‘aggregations’ — into individual Alltop sites.”

Topics include celebrity gossip, sports, politics, and, careers, among others.

And Joe Grimm, recruiting and development editor at the Detroit Free Press, cautions a wait-and-see attitude.

“Traditional media are all scrambling to find new models,” he says.

Grimm says one avenue generating a lot of interest is the “cloud of social networking, crowd-sourcing, and the marriage of professionals and amateurs in pro-am collaboratives.”

Grimm says the playing field has not been leveled, but rather, it has been torn up.

“That’s what this revolution is really about: networked people, not the technology that connects them. Every mainstream media company is trying to get a piece of that, whether it is letting people comment on content, vote it up or down, or supplying their own. We are trying to figure out ways to rapidly provide platforms, venues, or marketplaces, rather than controlling the content. Those who figure out the best way to tap this will build some of our next media models. The Washington Post is betting on Goldberg, but it is covering some other spots on the board, as well,” says Grimm.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.