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Windy Citizen was a Chicago-based local news site that used crowd curation to determine its lead stories. It was founded in 2008 and shut down in 2012.
Windy Citizen relied on user submissions for its content. It used a Digg-like mechanism for determining stories’ popularity, asking users — whose identity on the site was tied to their social networking accounts — to vote stories up or down. The site’s front page consisted of the most popular posts on the site at any given moment. At one point, Windy Citizen had about 100,000 unique monthly users.
In 2010, Flora won a $250,000 Knight News Challenge grant to develop NowSpots, an experiment in real-time advertising that works by syndicating social media-based messages from sponsors. Flora experimented with the advertising on the Windy Citizen site, and the site remained operational after Windy Citizen’s closing.
OpenFile was a user-driven local news site based in Toronto, with affiliates in five other Canadian cities, Montréal, Calgary, Ottawa, and Vancouver, and Halifax. OpenFile was founded by Canadian journalist Wilf Dinnick in May 2010. The site relied on users to direct its news coverage, inviting them to start a “file” (the site’s founders chose the term to…