Seattle's technology community has new source for news

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by OWEN LEI / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on March 7, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 7 at 7:07 PM

SEATTLE – Seattle has a new source for technology news from two veteran journalists suddenly finding themselves in the same realm as the start-ups they cover.

But despite its name, the target audience for GeekWire.com is broader than you'd think, said co-founder Todd Bishop.

"It's geeks. And we define that very broadly actually," Bishop said. "It's someone who is very passionate about a certain topic... whether it's tech news or investing.  Even one of the first stories we had on the site was a great recap of William Shatner's discussion at Comicon."

GeekWire is the newest venture of Bishop and John Cook, both former Seattle PI reporters.

After leaving the PI, Cook and Bishop co-founded Techflash.com in October 2008 as part of the Puget Sound Business Journal. Over the short time, TechFlash has become one of the major sources of news on Microsoft and Amazon.com on the web.

Cook has covered start-ups and entrepreneurship in the Seattle area for more than 10 years. Bishop has covered Microsoft for about the same length of time.

"With media moving as quickly and as fast as it is, you have to keep up with that, and you do have to reinvent yourself at times," Cook said.

Now, they are the entrepreneurs.

While Cook and Bishop said they've been discussing branching out on their own for almost five years, "we built this site pretty much over the weekend," Cook said.

While both men declined to say who their investors are, Bishop said, "It's enough to get us going and make sure we have a solid footing." 

Web developer Foundry Interactive created the new site. Also listed as partners are law firm Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich and Rosati; graphic design company inkd, and hosting company Blue Box Group.

On Monday, PSBJ publisher Emory Thomas, Jr., posted on TechFlash:

"TechFlash has been an important force in pushing our company’s online content to a higher level.... As with any young venture, change is inevitable. But it’s with more than a tinge of regret that I inform you that Todd Bishop and John Cook, TechFlash’s first employees and full-time bloggers, have decided to leave to start their own enterprise. The change is immediate and we wish them well. But let me be very clear that we remain deeply committed to TechFlash – and not just its continuation, but also its development and growth."

Cook and Bishop said they expect to draw readership through guest bloggers and community events, in addition to the technology news they produce.

The two said they probably have close to 10,000 followers between them on Twitter, with some overlap.

The potential upside for niche news sites is tremendous. AOL recently bought the blog TechCrunch for an undisclosed amount estimated in the millions.  AOL also purchased the Huffington Post for $315 million.

For now though, the two guys borrowing a desk and an Internet connection in Pioneer Square just hope to get off the ground. Again.

"We've always have had a sense of place to our reporting," said Bishop, who said part of their appeal is being outside the Silicon Valley and New York City. "We are rooted here in Seattle and we have the ability to tell the stories of people here."

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