When it comes to tech blogs, the majority of sites today focus on products, business news and rumors. What’s missing in this mix, however, is a site that solely covers the world of online communities. The Daily Dot, which launches today, wants to change this and calls itself the “hometown newspaper of the World Wide Web.” The team behind the site, including CEO Nick White (who has an extensive background in the legacy newspaper world), founding editor Owen Thomas (best known for his work at VentureBeat and Valleywag) and twelve staff writers, aims to write about online communities like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Reddit. The site was co-founded by White, tech entrepreneur and EarthWeb co-founder Nova Spivack and Josh Jones-Dilworth, the founder and CEO of the Austin-based PR and marketing firm that bears his name.
A Hometown Paper for the Web – Including the Funnies
As White told me during an interview last week, the team aims to be part of the communities it covers (think: Reddit-embedded reporters). In his view, news sites “haven’t gotten better in the last ten years.” The Daily Dot, of course, wants to change this, though the site it is launching with today does still look and feel like a standard Internet news site. White and Thomas told me that the team plans to add extensive personalization features to the site over time.
The site aims to bring the sensibilities of local news reporting to the web. The team currently focuses on covering some of the largest online communities (Twitter, Reddit, Youtube, Facebook etc.). White rightly notes that some of these represent user groups that are larger than most countries.
One feature that exemplifies this “hometown newspaper” sensibility the best is the Comics section. A paper without a comics section, after all, can’t really call itself a paper. The idea here, surely is to drive traffic by these easily consumed and shared comics, but it’s also nice to see that the Daily Dot isn’t just aggregating these comics from other sites but actually pays artists to draw these for them.
No WordPress to be Found Here
From a technical perspective, it is worth noting that the Daily Dot decided to bypass the regular suspects in its choice of content management systems and now uses the Armstrong CMS. Armstrong is a new publishing platform that was developed by The Bay Citizen and The Texas Tribune and financed by a grant from the prestigious Knight Foundation. The Daily Dot is the first major new publication to use this new CMS, which is written in Python and based on the Django Framework.