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10/8/2007
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MSNBC Acquires Social News Site Newsvine

MSNBC is following in the footsteps of other media companies that have bought into socially-oriented Web sites and blogs, including Conde Nast, CNET, News Corp.

The fountain of youth for old media appears to be audience engagement.

MSNBC said on Sunday that has acquired Newsvine, Inc., a Seattle-based social media site.

In so doing, MSNBC is following in the footsteps of other media companies that have bought into socially-oriented Web sites and blogs, including Conde Nast, which acquired Reddit.com a year ago, CNET, which acquired eco-blog Treehugger.com last month, and News Corp., which acquired Intermix Media and its MySpace.com social site in the summer of 2005.

And social media isn't just for news organizations looking to connect. Intel today launched its own social site, coolsw.intel.com, to stir discussion and keep abreast of current technology trends.

"MSNBC.com and Newsvine are a great strategic fit and we're excited they're a part of our brand family," said Charlie Tillinghast, president of MSNBC Interactive News, in a statement. "Coming together allows us to take advantage of the tremendous market opportunity to expand social media and community features across all of our brands. The addition of Newsvine's technologies and people is a key element in our plans to solidify our leadership position as the news source with the widest diversity of media, sources and platforms."

Interest in social sites reflects the realization by old media companies that the Internet is an interactive medium and that Internet users want to participate rather than simply consume. As Newsvine co-founder and CEO Mike Davidson put it, Newsvine was created with "the notion that big and little media can interact in a way which respects established journalism and empowers the individual at the same time."

While Internet users have been talking amongst themselves for years, established media companies have been slow to cede control of the discussion to the masses. But seeing that an engaged audience spends more time in front of ads than an audience denied a voice, yesterday's masters of the airwaves are coming to accept that control isn't as important as ad revenue.

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