Community news website OpenFile suspends publication

The Globe and Mail

A Sept. 28, 2012 sreengrab from OpenFile’s Vancouver website. (OpenFile)

OpenFile, a Canadian news website that features stories based on suggestions from its readers, is suspending publication for a few weeks as it explores a new business opportunity.

Founder Wilf Dinnick said operations will cease in the six cities it operates in as he works out the details of a new business deal, which he said he couldn’t elaborate on but would allow the site to engage in more journalism than it does right now.

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“We’re not shutting down,” he said. “But we need to suspend operations for a week or two as we work out some details. I expect to be back pretty soon.”

The company has six editors and six curators, he said, who work on contract. Some will come back when the company launches again, he said. Its stories are written by freelance reporters.

Mr. Dinnick, who was awarded the 2012 J-Source Canadian Newsperson of the Year and has worked at CBC, CTV and CNN, characterized the shutdown as a restructuring.

“With this deal we’ll have more scope to do user suggested stories,” he said.

He founded OpenFile a year and a half ago, backed by three years of venture capital funding. He said he hasn’t run out of funding.

The site’s stories are suggested by readers – on Friday there were pieces posted with headlines such as “How is there so much sushi and yogurt on Bloor,” “A brief history of Ottawa sinkholes,” and “Why aren’t children on reserves receiving equal welfare funding?

OpenFile has sites for Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax.

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