Type of site
|News, Lifestyle, Travel, and Culture|
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group|
|Editor||Manny Fantis (Director of Branding & Content), Dave Trausneck (Director of Social Media)|
(Global July 2017[update])
(US July 2017[update])
October 16, 2012 (Initial)|
July 18, 2016 (Relaunch)
Circa News, also known as Circa, is an American online news and entertainment service founded in 2012, by Matt Galligan, Ben Huh, and Arsenio Santos. The service features news stories and features consisting of individual bits of information.
The service went offline for financial reasons on June 24, 2015, and then relaunched in Spring 2016 under the ownership of media company Sinclair Broadcast Group. Under Sinclair, the website's coverage has been described by some media outlets as conservative although the site claims to report from a neutral point of view.
On October 16, 2012, Circa launched their application for iOS. The app featured news and information from different sources and viewpoints that were stitched together into a story designed to be shifted around and changed easily as stories developed. The founders' aim for Circa was "to pursue a more pure definition of news with truths divorced from conjecture, opinion or biased analysis.”
On September 24, 2014, Circa announced version 3.0 of their mobile applications. The update added a daily briefing service called "Wire", which aggregates top stories over a 24-hour period. Circa would expand from the app world to the internet in February 2015 with the announcement of a web version, CircaNews.com.
On April 30, 2015, Circa announced that it was looking for a buyer after failing to obtain a new funding round of venture capital financing. On June 21, 2015, Circa halted its news reporting operations for financial reasons. Three days later on June 24, Circa announced that it would shut down and go on an "indefinite hiatus" following its inability to secure an acquirer. CEO and co-founder Matt Galligan bid farewell to Circa in a blog post titled "Farewell to Circa News"; in the post, he admired Circas' successes, but lamented the company's failure to become a sustainable business.
Acquisition and relaunch
On November 22, 2015, a few former Circa employees reported that the CircaNews.com website was again active, stating a simple message that "Circa will be back soon..." A report by the Nieman Journalism Lab said that the site's domain name was registered one month earlier to Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sinclair confirmed on December 7, 2015, that it had acquired Circa News, its intellectual property, and assets earlier in 2015, and aimed to relaunch Circa in the spring of 2016. The acquisition of Circa was to be funded by a Sinclair subsidiary (Sinclair Digital Ventures) and potentially other investors. Circa CEO Matt Galligan mentioned at Circa's closure the previous June that the company could sell or white-label its technology to a news-producing company for use in its own apps.
The revived Circa formally went live on July 18, 2016 with a redesigned app, and a website using a new URL, Circa.com. From December 2016, Circa was led by chief operating officer John Solomon, the former vice-president of content and business development for the Washington Times; Solomon was hired by Sinclair as Circa's chief creative officer in December 2015. Solomon left Circa to join The Hill in July 2017.
Sinclair says that it aims to "let the content drive [Circa]" and not let the site adhere to any set political or cultural viewpoint, describing Vice News and Breitbart as "partisan-driven" news sites the new Circa would not intentionally emulate. Though Sinclair has aired conservative political content on its stations, its stated intention with Circa is to present information with "no spin, just facts and transparency" and in "an irreverent tone" that will allow the site's target audience (young adults 18 to 35 years old) to form its own opinions.
Circa's reporting has been characterized by other media outlets as conservative. Circa garnered attention for its reporting on Russian interference in the 2016 election, which broke many stories seen to be favorable to the Trump administration. According to the Hill, Circa's reporting on Russian interference has "only a peripheral focus on whether anyone in Trump’s inner circle had contact with Russian officials during the campaign".
It has been reported that Sinclair had made an agreement with the Trump campaign to be given greater access in exchange for favorable coverage. Solomon said that reporting in many mainstream outlets was "reckless, false, unfair and imbalanced".
Since its original iteration, Circa's mobile app and website has offered "atomization" of news rather than "summarization". "Atomization", as originally expressed by Circa, means "to break down a story into its core elements: facts, stats, quotes and media", as opposed to a summary where content is reduced for quicker reading or users are linked elsewhere for the full story. Circa initially pushed multiple updates, also known as “points”, over the days, weeks and months as stories continued to develop. The Circa app also allowed users to "Follow" particular stories in order to receive future developments.
As relaunched in 2016, the Circa app and the Circa.com website retains the original Circa's "atomization" approach to delivering news. The redesigned Circa emphasizes "short- and long-form video, optimized for mobile and social media engagement." Circa utilizes original reporting from its own 80-person staff, user-generated content, and access to video feeds and reportage from Sinclair's 172 owned-or-operated TV stations.
- Circa Now, a portal for top stories and breaking developments
- 60 Seconds, a one-minute twice-daily summary of the day's news emphasizing text prompts and images optimized for mobile viewing and social media sharing
- The Great American Pop Report, a fast-moving summary of pop culture and social media buzz
- Circa Documentaries, long- and short-form documentaries exploring serious issues and topics
- Circa Moments, daily news segments produced to air on Sinclair's owned-and-operated TV stations
- Circa 360, news, entertainment, and branded advertisements shot entirely in a virtual reality format
- Circa Humor, topical parodies, satirical content, and humorous videos produced under the supervision of David Zucker.
- It's Complicated, a series of videos discussing all aspects of dating life for millennials, including 'ghosting', 'cuffing', and 'when to meet the parents'. First aired October 18, 2017.
- "Circa.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- "Circa | Crunchbase". CrunchBase. CrunchBase. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
- Orin, Andy (14 May 2014). "Behind the App: The Story of Circa". Nieman Journalism Lab. Nieman Foundation. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- Galligan, Matt (24 June 2015). "Farewell to Circa News". Medium. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
- "Set to Launch Digital News Site Circa, Sinclair Taps John Solomon as COO," from Broadcasting & Cable, 12/7/2015
- Owen, Laura Hazard (July 5, 2017). "In Circa, Sinclair sees a way to attract "independent-minded" millennials (and Sean Hannity)". Nieman Lab. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
- Sommer, Will (2017-03-18). "News outlet rising on the right for Russia coverage". TheHill. Retrieved 2017-07-13.
- "Donald Trump Jr.: Kremlin-linked woman claimed DNC dirt". www.bostonherald.com. Retrieved 2017-07-13.
- "Sinclair Acquired and Will Relaunch Mobile News Site Circa," from The Wall Street Journal, 12/7/2015
- Lim, Yung-Hui (29 October 2012). "Circa - The App That Deconstructs Facts From Fluff To Reconstruct News For Mobile". Forbes. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- Doctor, Ken. "The newsonomics of three cracks at the mobile news puzzle". Nieman Journalism Lab. Nieman Foundation. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
- Lawler, Ryan (24 September 2014). "Mobile News App Circa Adds A Personalized Daily Digest Of The Day's Top Stories". TechCrunch. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- Galligan, Matt (24 September 2014). "Introducing Circa News 3". medium.com. Medium. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- Ungerleider, Neal. "Why Circa's bringing news from smartphones to... your work computer?". fastcompany.com. Fast Company. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
- Covert, James (9 March 2015). "Circa — a mobile app for news junkies — launches website". nypost.com. New York Post. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- Shontell, Alyson (1 May 2015). "Twitter is in talks to buy mobile news app Circa". Business Insider. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- Primack, Dan (30 April 2015). "Exclusive: News app Circa is seeking a buyer". Fortune. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- Abbruzzese, Jason (24 June 2015). "Circa goes on 'indefinite hiatus' after failing to find a buyer". Mashable. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
- Wright, Mic (24 June 2015). "Circa news app and website are shutting down". The Next Web. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
- "Is Circa back? The mobile app might be returning via local TV stations," from Nieman Lab, 11/23/2015
- "CIRCA LAUNCHES EAGERLY-AWAITED ADVANCED WEBSITE..." press release from SBGI dated 7/18/2016
- "Sinclair Sets Circa Debut, Hires CCO," from TVNewsCheck, 12/7/2015
- "SINCLAIR PROMOTES JOHN SOLOMON TO CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER OF CIRCA," Press release from SBGI dated 12/12/2016
- "John Solomon Joins The Hill as Executive Vice President, Digital Video". Retrieved 2017-08-04.
- Kludt, Tom (2017-07-10). "White House Correspondents Association considers rule change that could ice out Breitbart". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2017-07-13.
- Cohn, David (1 April 2014). "At Circa We Write Stories, Not Summaries, Take Two". Circa Blog. Circa. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
- Ingram, Mathew (7 March 2014). "Circa would like you to know that it's about more than just short news hits — it's about building long-form stories over time". gigaom.com. Gigaom. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
- "About Circa". circanews.com. Circa. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- "It's official: Something called Circa will launch next year..." from Nieman Lab, 12/7/2015
- "Sinclair Making Circa Live Again With Video," from Broadcasting & Cable, 6/14/2016
- "Learn. Think. Do. Welcome to Circa," from Circa.com, 7/18/2016
- "Circa launches VR 360 content and ad platform," press release from SBGI, dated 9/28/2016
- "A New Comedy Brand for Millennials," press release from SBGI, dated 9/26/2016
- Lois Beckett, "Forget Breitbart: The White House Has a New Favorite Rightwing Media Outlet," The Guardian, July 30, 2017.