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Sinclair Making Circa Live Again With Video

Hoping to hook millennials who don't necessarily lean left, Sinclair Broadcast Group is reviving the news site Circa as an alternative to considerably more liberal platforms like Vice and Vox.

“We really don’t want to make up the users’ minds about the stories,” said Sinclair Digital Group COO Rob Weisbord. Rather, participatory features – polls, quizzes and the like – are designed to spur conversation among users so they can come to their own conclusions, he said.

“We just want to tell the facts… and make it a lean-forward experience versus a lean-back experience,” he said.

Sinclair, which bought Circa’s tech stack and brand last year, was also drawn by the site’s ability to personalize news delivery, Weisbord said. The original Circa, which was launched in 2012, shut down in 2015 when it ran out of cash.

One major change between Sinclair’s Circa and the original site is that the new version will be heavy on video, something the old one didn’t have, he said.

Circa will likely tap Sinclair’s broadcast assets. But its content is being produced by its own 80-person staff, Weisbord said.

John Solomon, who left his job as editor and VP of content and business development for the conservative Washington Times, is Circa’s chief creative officer.

Sinclair is the second major broadcast group to get into the video news site business. In 2013, E.W. Scripps bought Newsy for $35 million.