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WASHINGTON (AFP) — A US journalism institute and four entrepreneurs announced Wednesday they have joined forces in a Silicon Valley-based venture called CircLabs aimed at financing online news.

"CircLabs has planned a suite of services, this first of which is code-named Circulate," co-founder Jeffrey Vander Clute said in a statement.

"Circulate will address the challenges of how to increase traffic to media-affiliated websites, secure relationships with online users and enhance the value of news," said the social-networking and database engineer.

Circulate will "create a bridge between consumers and publishers of news and information," he said. "Software development on Circulate is underway, and we anticipate launching the service during the second half of this year."

Other partners in the venture include The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, newspaper publisher Martin Langeveld, Joe Bergeron, a Web product-development expert, and Bill Densmore, a former reporter.

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