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U.S. News was formed in 1948 from a merger between a weekly newspaper called the United States News and a magazine called World Report. It was a newsweekly similar to Time and Newsweek until the mid-2000s, when a series of changes turned it into a consumer guide publication. It consistently lost money for its last decade in print, but became profitable after it switched to an all-digital format. Nearly half of its revenue comes from online advertising, with the rest from data sold to institutions, licensing fees, conferences, and occasional print special editions As of late 2012, U.S. News had 180 total employees.
The publication is known for its consumer oriented list of institutions like colleges and hospitals, an aspect that accounts for much of its online traffic and one it has emphasized in recent years. It also sells its college guide data directly to colleges and universities.
U.S. News dropped its publishing cycle to biweekly in mid-2008 and then again to monthly later that year. In December 2010 it became online-only and ceased publishing the title monthly with the exception of single-topic special issues. It launched a paid iPad edition in 2011.
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…