Taiwan's The News Lens to reshape local journalism with angel funding and media veteran backing

December 27
12:04 PM 2013

After it received an undisclosed funding from angel investors and elected media veterans Marcus Brauchli and Sasa Vucinic as its advisors, Taiwan-based independent media startup The News Lens intended to cement its reputation as a trusted source for information in a domestic market already crowded with too many media sources. TechCrunch mentioned in an article that Brauchli had top editing positions at both the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, while Vucinic was instrumental to the launch of the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), a non-profit organization. Both Brauchli and Vucinic also participated in the angel funding round.

The News Lens founder and chief executive Joey Chung said the funding it recently received from its angel investors will be used to hire additional staff members and gain access to photo databases and wires in order for the startup to create content in-house and launch video content. The startup's site functions aside from publishing original analysis and columns is that of a news aggregator, meaning that content is sourced from various media outlets, TechCrunch said in its report.

Brauchli told TechCrunch in an email, "Sasa and I are hugely impressed with the vision and energy that Joey Chung, [co-founder and editor-in-chief] Mario Yang and their team bring to The News Lens. Both of us have spent time with them in Taipei. Their use of social media, aggregation and user-centric design, their awareness of the importance of fresh voices in the mix of content, their political and commercial independence, and their commitment to smart, relevant content for a younger audience made the company an especially attractive project for us."

The News Lens, since launching in July, averages 1.5 million unique visitors a month, indicating the need of a politically independent news site in Taiwan. TechCrunch likened The News Lens as an Asian Huffington Post. Chung, on the other hand, explained that The News Lens is different with the more famous news site interms of international reach in Chinese-speaking markets, of which the former intends to tap Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Malaysia. Aside from catering to Chinese readers by the availability of the site in traditional and simplified Chinese characters, its translation widgets easily adapts to its English-speaking customers.

Chung said, "We want to be the one-stop shop so we can give you that service already. We screen out the junk. We tell you this is what blue is saying and this is what green is saying, and this is what you should know about the issues behind it."

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