Chris Tolles – Topix

Posted on 08. Oct, 2007 by in Uncategorized

Your work in networked/citizen/collaborative journalism.

I’m a cofounder and CEO of Topix, which is a community site focused around local news.  We enable people to comment on any of the articles we’ve aggregated from over 50,000 sources, as well as submitting, discussing or editing original stories or commentary about any town in the US as well as hundreds of thousands of other topics.  We syndicate commentary and community for other publishers and have automated systems to help manage and moderate community around news on the web.

What are your goals?
We’re aiming to be the number one local news site on the web, and become the best place to talk about the news you care about online. 

Notable achievements?
Topix is the only company on the web providing news headlines for every ZIP code in the US and is a top 20 news site according to ComScore, Nielsen and Hitwise.  Topix provides commentary and community for the Tribune company and its publications, as well as many other web sites. We’re powering local news headlines on CNN, myAOL, Earthlink, Ask and thousands of other websites.  We also received around $60M in investment from the three largest newspaper companies in the US.  We’ve also created a platform where over 2500 people are submitting original stories and editing topics and localities on our site.

Lesson you’ve learned (including mistakes you’ve made)
People coming to your site on the web will give you a lot of input on what they want from you.  It will often be different than what you think they want, or what you’d like to provide your users – The New York Times is not going to emerge fully formed out of citizen journalism, but what people do create is interesting, valuable and different than what you thought it was going to be.

Are you getting revenue for this? How?
Topix is selling advertising as well as headline news feeds around our products.  We rev sahare on the syndication products and it tunrs out that our categorization technology enables us to make better use of contextual ad systems, like Google’s adsense better than most other news sites.

What’s next? What do you need to get to the next level?
We’re looking to expand our relationship with the people who participate with our site on the web, as well as reaching out to other publishers to use our commentary and community services on the web.  We’re also expanding our sales efforts and are developing a sales force to help advertisers reach our audience directly.


Anyone you’d like to talk with, learn from, or work with at the summit

We’re interested in talking with any publisher looking to provide community and per article or topic commentary or community on top of their offerings.  We also


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