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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - News and information company Reuters Group Plc has taken a stake in Web media syndication site Pluck Corp. and agreed to distribute blogs worldwide as part of its new media strategy.
Reuters has invested $7 million in the Austin, Texas-based company in return for an undisclosed ownership stake, Pluck Co-founder and Chief Executive Dave Panos said.
Pluck operates the world's biggest blog syndication network, called BlogBurst, which connects newspapers and other media sites to 2,800 selected blogs, helping traditional media supplement their journalism with blog viewpoints.
Web logs, or blogs, have become a major source of commentary and reader feedback on the Internet. Traditional media have increasingly turned to blogs for insight and analysis.
As a provider of syndicated text, pictures and video news, Reuters plans to offer Pluck's BlogBurst blog syndication service to thousands of its media customers worldwide, the London-based company said.
BlogBurst counts U.S. news outlets such as The Washington Post, the Gannett newspaper chain, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Austin American-Statesman as its customers. In Britain, it also links bloggers to the Guardian newspaper site and Reuters sites.
Blog categories covered include news, politics, sports, health, fitness, technology, travel, food and entertainment.
Pluck plans to take advantage of Reuters' investment to expand its services worldwide, starting in Europe and later in Asia, executives of both companies said.
"What this deal provides is an edited and moderated view of what is happening in the world of blogs," said Chris Ahearn, president of Reuters Media division.
Beyond acting as a blog distributor, Pluck offers SiteLife, a set of Web services for media publishers and broadcasters to add interactive features to their own sites.
SiteLife allows customers such as Fox News and the Meredith magazine and Hearst newspaper chains to incorporate reader contributions alongside stories produced by the publisher's own journalists. Feedback features include photo and video contributions, reader comments and allowing site visitors to create their own blogs, under the publisher's brand.
The alliance with Pluck is one of a growing number of projects Reuters has in so-called social media. Others include a partnership with international blog commentary network Global Voices and financial backing it provides NewAssignment.net, an experiment in new types of enterprise reporting, Ahearn said.
Reuters a decade ago pushed into the online news business by providing Yahoo Inc. and other then emerging Internet media sites with news feeds.
"Our general view is that news is news," Ahearn said. Whether generated by professional journalists or by blog commentators, "we don't take the view there is only one view you can trust and that we have it," he said.
Pluck had previously received $10 million from backers including venture capital firms Austin Ventures and Mayfield Fund, Panos said.