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Innovation Endeavors backs Hoodline to fill local “news deserts”

ImpactAlpha, September 11 – Another deal to report this week from ex-Google boss Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors fund. The fund participated in news service Hoodline’s $10 million Series A round. The round was led by Boston-based early venture fund Neoteny with participation from Sound Ventures and Dentsu Ventures.

Hoodline is trying to fill “news deserts” by amassing large volumes of local data and then using it to write news stories. The stories are written using templates for different types of coverage, like job trends or local sports results; partner news networks like Yahoo and MSN then pick up its stories, TechCrunch reports.

Hoodline’s model is not quite the same as appointing local court or school board reporters, but it meets demand for local information amid a difficult time for traditional newspapers.

Hoodline also has a recommendation feature for its partner media companies, which suggests local stories from Hoodline’s database.

The San Francisco-based startup claims to have more than 300 media partnerships and a presence in 22 cities. (It only lists San Francisco and Oakland on its website.)

Startups and investors are experimenting with different ways to save embattled news organizations and boost media integrity and accessibility. Chicago native Chance the Rapper bought the Chicagoist, which was part of the Gothamist news group. The Media Development Investment Fund has a long-track record of making equity and debt investments to support independent media organizations. And programs run by Matter Ventures and New Media Ventures are helping build new media models.

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