Circa News

Last updated
Circa News
Circa logo 2016.jpg
Type of site
News, Lifestyle, Travel, and Culture
Available inEnglish
Dissolved March 26, 2019;2 years ago (2019-03-26)
Owner Sinclair Broadcast Group
EditorLou Ferrara (chief content officer), Bonny Ghosh (managing editor)
LaunchedOctober 16, 2012;9 years ago (2012-10-16) (initial)
July 18, 2016;5 years ago (2016-07-18) (relaunch)
Current statusDefunct

Circa News, also known as Circa, is a defunct American online newspaper and entertainment service. The site was founded in 2012 by Matt Galligan, Ben Huh and Arsenio Santos.[ citation needed ] The service had news stories and features consisting of individual bits of information. [1]


The service went offline for financial reasons on 24 June 2015, [2] and was then relaunched in spring 2016 under the ownership of the Sinclair Broadcast Group media company. [3] [4] [5] Under Sinclair, the website's coverage was described by some media outlets as conservative [6] although the site claimed to report from a neutral point of view. [7]

The site was discontinued abruptly on 26 March 2019, with Sinclair stating that industry changes did not justify the continuation of Circa News as a website (and three days before sister property KidsClick was also closed with little notice). [8] The former domain for the site now redirects to Sinclair's streaming portal, Stirr . Circa's social media accounts remained active but dormant, with their handles changed to the initials "TND"; Sinclair would later repurpose the accounts for its headline news service The National Desk , removing all traces of Circa from the accounts, but also retaining the existing subscribers of those feeds. [9]


Early years

Circa's original logo (c. 2012-2015) Circa News Logo.png
Circa's original logo (c. 2012-2015)

On 16 October 2012, Circa launched its application for iOS. [10] The app featured news and information from different sources and viewpoints that were stitched together into a story designed to be shifted around and changed easily as stories developed. The founders' aim for Circa was "to pursue a more pure definition of news with truths divorced from conjecture, opinion or biased analysis". [10] [11]

On 24 September 2014, Circa announced version 3.0 of its mobile applications. The update added a daily briefing service called "Wire", which aggregates top stories over a 24-hour period. [12] Circa would expand from the app world to the internet in February 2015 with the announcement of a web version, [13] [14]

On 30 April 2015, Circa announced that it was looking for a buyer after failing to obtain a new funding round of venture capital financing. [15] [16] On 21 June 2015, Circa halted its news reporting operations for financial reasons. [17] Three days later, on June 24, Circa announced that it would shut down and go on an "indefinite hiatus" following its inability to secure an buyer. [17] CEO and co-founder Matt Galligan bade farewell to Circa in a blog post titled "Farewell to Circa News" [2] in which, he admired the successes of Circa, but lamented the company's failure to become a sustainable business. [18]

Acquisition and relaunch

On November 22, 2015, a few former Circa employees reported that the website was again active, stating a simple message that "Circa will be back soon...". A report by the Nieman Journalism Lab said that the site's domain name was registered a month earlier to Sinclair Broadcast Group. [19] Sinclair confirmed on 7 December 2015, that it had acquired Circa News, its intellectual property and assets earlier in 2015, and aimed to relaunch Circa in spring 2016. [3] The acquisition of Circa was to be funded by a Sinclair subsidiary (Sinclair Digital Ventures) and potentially other investors. Circa CEO Matt Galligan mentioned at its closure the previous June that the company could sell or "white-label" its technology to a news-producing company for use in its own apps. [19]

The revived Circa formally went live on 18 July 2016 with a redesigned app and a website using a new URL, [20] From December 2016, Circa was led by the chief operating officer John Solomon, the former vice-president of content and business development for The Washington Times . Solomon was hired by Sinclair as Circa's chief creative officer in December 2015. [21] Solomon left Circa to join The Hill in July 2017. [22]

The app announced in March 2017 that it would be shutting down. [23]


Sinclair says that it aims to "let the content drive [Circa]" and not let the site adhere to any set political or cultural viewpoint, describing Vice News and Breitbart as "partisan-driven" news sites that the new Circa would not intentionally emulate. Though Sinclair has aired conservative political content on its stations, its stated intention with Circa was to present information with "no spin, just facts and transparency" and in "an irreverent tone" that will allow the site's target audience (young adults 18 to 35 years old) to form its own opinions. [7] [20]

Circa's reporting has been characterized by other media outlets as conservative. [5] [24] [6] Circa attracted attention for its reporting on Russian interference in the 2016 election, which broke many stories seen to be favorable to the Trump administration. [5] According to The Hill, Circa's reporting on Russian interference has "only a peripheral focus on whether anyone in Trump’s inner circle had contact with Russian officials during the campaign". [5]

It has been reported that Sinclair had made an agreement with the Trump campaign to be given greater access in exchange for favorable coverage. [5] [4] Solomon said that reporting in many mainstream outlets was "reckless, false, unfair and imbalanced". [5]


Since its original iteration, the Circa mobile app and website have offered "atomization" of news rather than "summarization". "Atomization", as originally expressed by Circa, means "to break down a story into its core elements: facts, stats, quotes and media", as opposed to a summary where content is reduced for quicker reading or users are linked elsewhere for the full story. [25] Circa initially pushed multiple updates, also known as "points", over the days, weeks and months as stories continued to develop. [26] The Circa app also allowed users to "follow" particular stories in order to receive future developments. [27]

As relaunched in 2016, the Circa app and the website retained the original "atomization" approach to delivering the news. The redesigned Circa emphasized "short- and long-form video, optimized for mobile and social media engagement". Circa utilizes original reporting from its own 80-person staff, user-generated content and access to video feeds and reportage from Sinclair's 172 owned-or-operated TV stations. [7] [28]

Circa features several portals and micro-sites accessible through its website, app and social media platforms. These include: [20] [29]

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  1. Orin, Andy (14 May 2014). "Behind the App: The Story of Circa". Nieman Journalism Lab. Nieman Foundation. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  2. 1 2 Galligan, Matt (24 June 2015). "Farewell to Circa News". Medium. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  3. 1 2 Jonathan Kuperberg, "Set to Launch Digital News Site Circa, Sinclair Taps John Solomon as COO", Broadcasting & Cable, 12 July 2015
  4. 1 2 Owen, Laura Hazard (5 July 2017). "In Circa, Sinclair sees a way to attract "independent-minded" millennials (and Sean Hannity)". Nieman Lab. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Sommer, Will (18 March 2017). "News outlet rising on the right for Russia coverage". TheHill. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  6. 1 2 "Donald Trump Jr.: Kremlin-linked woman claimed DNC dirt". Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  7. 1 2 3 "Sinclair Acquired and Will Relaunch Mobile News Site Circa", The Wall Street Journal, 12 July 2015
  8. Hazard Owen, Laura (27 March 2019). "Circa, Sinclair's millennial-focused news site (and the final remains of some interesting mobile ideas), is shutting down". Nieman Lab . Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  10. 1 2 Lim, Yung-Hui (29 October 2012). "Circa - The App That Deconstructs Facts From Fluff To Reconstruct News For Mobile". Forbes. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  11. Doctor, Ken. "The newsonomics of three cracks at the mobile news puzzle". Nieman Journalism Lab. Nieman Foundation. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  12. Lawler, Ryan (24 September 2014). "Mobile News App Circa Adds A Personalized Daily Digest Of The Day's Top Stories". TechCrunch. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
    - Galligan, Matt (24 September 2014). "Introducing Circa News 3". Medium. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  13. Ungerleider, Neal. "Why Circa's bringing news from smartphones to... your work computer?". Fast Company. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  14. Covert, James (9 March 2015). "Circa — a mobile app for news junkies — launches website". New York Post. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  15. Shontell, Alyson (1 May 2015). "Twitter is in talks to buy mobile news app Circa". Business Insider. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  16. Primack, Dan (30 April 2015). "Exclusive: News app Circa is seeking a buyer". Fortune. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  17. 1 2 Abbruzzese, Jason (24 June 2015). "Circa goes on 'indefinite hiatus' after failing to find a buyer". Mashable. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  18. Wright, Mic (24 June 2015). "Circa news app and website are shutting down". The Next Web. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  19. 1 2 "Is Circa back? The mobile app might be returning via local TV stations", Nieman Lab, 23 November 2015
  20. 1 2 3 "CIRCA LAUNCHES EAGERLY-AWAITED ADVANCED WEBSITE..." press release from SBGI, 18 July 2016
  21. "Sinclair Sets Circa Debut, Hires CCO", TVNewsCheck, 7 July 2015
  22. "John Solomon Joins The Hill as Executive Vice President, Digital Video". Adweek. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  23. Hazard Owen, Laura (27 March 2019). "Circa, Sinclair's millennial-focused news site (and the final remains of some interesting mobile ideas), is shutting down". Nieman Lab.
  24. Kludt, Tom (10 July 2017). "White House Correspondents Association considers rule change that could ice out Breitbart". CNNMoney. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  25. Cohn, David (1 April 2014). "At Circa We Write Stories, Not Summaries, Take Two". Circa Blog. Circa. Archived from the original on 27 May 2014. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  26. Ingram, Mathew (7 March 2014). "Circa would like you to know that it's about more than just short news hits — it's about building long-form stories over time". Gigaom. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  27. "About Circa". Circa. Archived from the original on 23 April 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  28. "It's official: Something called Circa will launch next year...", Nieman Lab, 12 July 2015
    "Sinclair Making Circa Live Again With Video", Broadcasting & Cable, 14 June 2016
  29. "Learn. Think. Do. Welcome to Circa",, 18 July 2016
  30. "Circa launches VR 360 content and ad platform", press release from SBGI, 28 September 2016
  31. "A New Comedy Brand for Millennials", a press release from SBGI, 26 September 2016

Further reading