The NewsiT Blog

Bringing people together around interests and circumstances they share with people they trust. Create, collaborate and connect on the NewsiT mobile platform.

Visit us at: www.newsit.net
Twitter: @newsitnews | @NewsiT_editor | @younewsit
Facebook: Facebook.com/newsitnews

  1. Meet the New Team

    We’re excited to announce that Kevin Survance has joined NewsiT as its acting CTO. Kevin is an innovator, results-driver and all round good guy. Most recently he founded Eleos Technologies, which enables enterprises to use smart phones to document field events with photos and high-quality document images. Kevin was also the CTO of M33 Integrated Solutions (2008-2011) and MapQuest (2006-2008), where he led development and operation of MapQuest’s consumer site with 45 million unique visitors per month and 3,600 requests per second, as well as B2B and mobile products. He also led the 50-member development team at American Express that developed the company’s system for instant credit decisions. Luckily for us, Kevin brings with him a team of developers with senior level expertise at Microsoft, Pfizer, MapQuest, BlackBerry and several Department of Defense contractors. The team includes: Ryan Crum, a Big Data and Algorithm specialist, who is also the developer of Resounder, the best selling iPhone soundboard app; Phillip Calvin, an iPhone and iPad developer and user experience expert who’s been known to spend hours at the local shopping mall, asking shoppers to try an app and then furiously writing code in the food court to fix the issues that caused the hesitation or confusing in testing; and Matthew Maravillas, a ‘polyglot’ programmer with multiple languages who finds tough algorithmic problems “irresistible”. The team develops in iOS (Objective-C), Android (Java), Ruby, Rails, Python, CSS, Grails, C, C++, Hadoop, MySQL / NoSQL, PostgrSQL, Lucene, Oracle, JavaScript, HTML5, Erlang, Linux, Cucumber and more.  At NewsiT Kevin and team are laser-focused on meeting consumer demands and business imperatives with elegant, speedy, functional and intuitive solutions for consumers and content partners.


    "I’m honored and delighted to join NewsiT in the quest to transform the way people consume - and make - the news.  The NewsiT vision is brilliantly audacious and demands a unique, scalable technology platform.  I’m looking forward to working with Melinda and her talented team to develop the platform and bring to life the company’s bold production vision." - Kevin Survance

    Time also to introduce you to Matt Prohaska, a 20-year media veteran and leading expert in digital advertising, social media and technology. Matt is our guru of all things revenue, and good thing too because he has sold or managed teams that have sold a total $2.5 billion in online and mobile advertising in the past 13 years. 

    His career spans Sesame Workshop, Hulu, NBC, CNET and AOL, where he lead a 160-person sales team in account management and handled $1 billion in sales revenue. The AOL sales team was awarded the #1 rating for quality sales by more than 200 agency and advertising executives in 2009. Matt was also SVP, Media and Data Solutions for [x+1], a leading digital marketing firm specializing in audience targeting, analytics and website optimization. Matt has managed six different regional and national sales teams, consulted for more than 30 companies and founded four others. At NewsiT Matt focuses on identifying revenue opportunities, crafting ‘win-win’ collaborative relationships with content and other partners, and identifying key sponsors and advertising networks.

    Now meet Michael Harper, a talented iPhone, iPad, Android and Ruby on Rails developer whose career spans Apple, Symantec and Taligent, Sun Microsystems, AT&T Wireless and Stanford University. Michael’s iPhone apps range from the polling app Show of Hands, the Norton Online backup app, and a portal app for Regence Healthcare, to Circle 8, an app that helps tourist navigate Sunriver, OR and its 33 miles of bike paths, and Live like a Local for tourists in DC.

    And Olga Howard, the user experience maven behind PBS Kids, AARP and MTV among others. Olga has created an intuitive and innovative user experience for NewsiT. Also Joel Springer,the talented designer behind Cadillac, MapQuest, RedCode Technology, White Hat Capital and many others,is on board for app and web design.

    Michael Harper

  2. Women Entrepreneurs Panel Featuring Melinda Wittstock

    Women entrepreneurs are a growing force in the economy but they face a unique set of challenges too. Join NewsiT Founder and CEO Melinda Wittstock and a group of distinguished panelists as they explore the issues and answer some of the questions surrounding this fascinating and important topic.

    The Milken Institute and the George Washington University Present
    Women Entrepreneurs:
    Innovative Approaches to Financing New Businesses

    When

    Monday, June 18, 2012
    5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

    Where

    George Washington University
    Media and Public Affairs Building
    805 21st St NW
    Jack Morton Auditorium
    Washington, District of Columbia 20052

    Click here for more information.

  3. A Message From Melinda

    What does ‘news’ mean to you?

    Is it a fleeting headline, saturation cable coverage or broken-telephone online aggregation of all the same sources? Is it studio-bound pundits trading ideological invectives at high decibel? Maybe it’s a tweet from a friend.

    The “news” in the NewsiT name means something very different to us.

    News to us is social – a conversation about an issue of shared interest – evolving over time, weaving in more and more voices and perspectives, and separating fact from opinion – to give people relevant new information they can trust and use to improve their lives and communities.

    We want NewsiT to be a place to discover facts and friends around topic threads that matter most to you, a place where you can set the agenda, share information, and make an impact.

    It’s very early days for NewsiT and its driving us crazy that our site and iPhone app are still so far from our exciting vision.

    We’re working hard to dramatically improve your experience, and I wanted to bring you up to speed on where we are going and some of the changes you will start to see.

    We want our stories to evolve over time, letting you interact at any point in a story thread, and improving with each new interaction or collaboration. You may simply want to see what’s trending or catch up with friends; you may have a tip, a photo or video to share; perhaps you want to dig deep into a specific story branch, find out who’s contributed what, comment, rate or connect.

    Our next iPhone release will fix some of the most, well, irritating things about the app - simplifying workflows, improving navigation, fixing broken ‘trending’ functionality so you can see others’ contributions in real time, and more. And coming soon too:  Full social functionality via integration with Twitter and Facebook, and ways to find and connect with friends on the NewsiT platform. We’ll also be eliminating what seems an artificial and antiquated dividing line between ‘assignments’ and ‘latest news’ by combining the two into threads, organized by topics and tagging. You’ll be able to rate, rank, share, collaborate - and did I mention the app will start to actually look beautiful? We love elegant, minimalist, crisp and engaging design.

    Yes, there is a lot to do, and as we do it we’d love your input, suggestions, comments and participation as we implement all the great feedback we have had out in the ‘real world’.

    Every two weeks from now you will see changes and improvements. Let us know if you want to be part of our usability testing, or whether you just have a specific thought about design or functionality you need us to hear. And please keep participating and uploading content. We do hope you’ll take the chance to help shape this young new company - and thank you for helping to make NewsiT all it can be!

    NewsiT was founded by CEO Melinda Wittstock. Melinda is an award-winning journalist, serial entrepreneur and an evangelist on all things socially-networked and ‘gamified’. She is passionate about improving the quality and relevance of news and information, and has learned in her long journalistic career that there is more expertise outside the newsroom than in it.

  4. The Next Big Thing in Digital News Innovation

    Today in New York City, NewsiT CEO Melinda Wittstock was one of the featured presenters at The Next Big Thing in Digital News Innovation, an event series where emerging entrepreneurs meet media industry leaders.

    Held at The Paley Center for Media and co-presented by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Next Big Thing is a series of forums in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles showcasing news and information startups for an audience of high-level media executives and investors.

     Follow @newsitnews or #paleynext to follow the conversation on Twitter.


  5. Melinda Wittstock, Founder and CEO of NewsiT talks with Tech Cocktail at South by Southwest (SXSW) 2012.

  6. NewsiT Founder a Featured Female Entrepreneur at NYCwomen.connect

    Newsit Founder & CEO Melinda Wittstock will be one of the featured speakers/companies at the NYCwomen.connect event in New York on Thursday, March 22, 2012.

    NYCwomen.connect is an intimate forum and networking series designed to showcase female entrepreneurs from an array of industries before an audience of 100 to 150 male and female investors, business leaders, and other service professionals committed to promoting and supporting women in business. 

    Melinda is not only revolutionizing the news gathering process with NewsiT, the new crowd-sourcing news platform, but she is also setting an example for women entrepreneurs everywhere.

    As usual, it’s a busy and exciting month for Melinda. NewsiT is also one of the finalists this year at the HATCH Pitch competition at South By Southwest in Austin, TX.

    The NYCwomen.connect event is at:

    5 – 9 p.m.
    The Offices of Hodgson Russ LLP
    1540 Broadway, 24th Floor, New York, NY
    (Entrance on 45th Street, East of Broadway)

    For more info or to register, visit NYCwomen.connect


  7. NewsiT steps up at the HATCH Pitch Competition

    HATCH is a pitch competition for startups with revolutionary ideas. They will be featuring 15 revolutionary startups certain to change your world. And the great news is that NewsiT is one of those finalists! Here’s the scoop from HATCH:

    On March 11th, 15 HATCH finalists will present their revolutionary ideas at HATCH, an event being held as part of the new SXSW Startup Village. Each team will be given four minutes to present their companies to a room of startup enthusiasts. Judges will then ask questions of each presenter. After all finalist presentations, the judges will determine how many virtual dollars they would invest in each time. The top three teams receiving the most virtual HATCH dollars will be crowned the winners.

    NewsiT is really excited about this opportunity, the competition and the chance to meet a ton of great people. And if you have not seen NewsiT Founder & CEO Melinda Wittstock present, you are in for a treat… unless you are one of our competitors!

    If you are going to be in Austin, TX for South by Southwest, please let us know or come by the exhibit floor and say hi. (Contact jack@newsit.net for more info.) You can also follow @YouNewsiT and hash-tag #sxnewsit on Twitter for updates from us throughout the week.

    We also have some great SXSW themed assignments running through March. Watch our Facebook page and this blog for more info soon. And as always, details are in the Assignments section of our web site.

    And please pass the link on. The more people, the better the story.