This article is an empirical investigation of 18 venture-backed news startups from around the United States and Europe. The central concern here is to examine yet another new entrant to the journalism ecosystem by asking how venture-backed news startups both depart from and replicate traditional journalism. These news startups aim to solve what they see as problems with journalism in novel ways, yet their concerns mirror larger historical critiques of journalism. In this respect, news startups leave the fundamental doxa of the field mostly intact. However, their distinct technological and cultural innovations—the creation of algorithms and other news personalization efforts, the development of scalable technology such as platforms, and the elevation of technological innovation and technologists as equal to journalists—do prompt consideration about how the underlying habitus of journalists, or their sense of the “feel of the game,” may well be challenged.

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Nikki Usher  
Nonresidential fellow


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