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The site was founded in January 2009 by former employees of the East Valley Tribune, and its initial funding was provided by local political consultant Bob Grossfeld, the site’s publisher. The Guardian had three editorial employees.
The Guardian was available only to paid subscribers, who could read the site with plans ranging from $30 to $150 per month . Many of those subscribers were members of the Arizona State Legislature or lobbyists. The site also brought in revenue from advertising. It was profitable as of mid-2009.
In 2010, the site began commissioning polls and developed a free location-based iPhone app designed by Arizona State University students, which allows users to quickly see elected officials for their current location, as well as other political stats and contact information.
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…