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Crosscut is a nonprofit news site that covers politics, the arts, and culture in the Pacific Northwest, with an emphasis on analysis over breaking news.
The site specializes in lengthy, analytical pieces and is aimed at educated, influential readers. It also aggregates local and national news from other online sources. In 2012, it briefly ran columns from the former Seattle news startup PubliCola following that site’s short-lived closing.
Crosscut began as a for-profit site, but it switched to a nonprofit model in 2009, slowing its advertising sales and adding memberships and grants. It began its nonprofit status with $150,000 in donations and grants, including $100,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It reduced staff and hours in summer 2012 because of falling revenues.
Backfence was a network of user-driven hyperlocal news sites that launched in 2005 and closed in 2007. Backfence was founded in 2005 by Mark Potts and Susan DeFife with five staff members and two community sites in the Washington, D.C., area. It raised $3 million in local and national investment and eventually expanded to 13…