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The Chronicle was launched in 2008 by the husband-and-wife team of Dave Askins and Mary Morgan and focused primarily on longer-form local government reporting. It was funded primarily through advertising, though the for-profit site also took donations, which it called “subscriptions” and which accounted for 22 percent of its revenue in 2011 and 38% at the time of its closing. It held events for subscribers as well. In 2012, the founders said it brought in $100,000 annually — where its revenue plateaued — and was growing at 16 percent per year. The site closed in 2014 because Askins and Morgan believed they could no longer put in the labor to keep the site running.
Demand Media, founded in 2006, is an online media company that quickly grew to prominence by algorithmically assigning and publishing stories based on user-demand signals, such as search and social media trends. It typically pays authors a low sum of money for these posts, often about $15 per contribution, and assigns posts only when it believes…