Screenshot of Newsarama main page, 7/15/2006
|Type of site||comic book|
|Created by||Matt Brady|
Newsarama began in summer 1995 as a series of Internet forum postings on the Prodigy comic-book message boards by fan Mike Doran. In these short messages. Doran shared comic-book news items he had found across the World Wide Web. As these postings became more regularly and widely read, he gave them the title "Prodigy Comic Book Newswire".
In January 1997, Doran began to post a version of the column, titled "The Comics Newswire", on Usenet's various rec.arts.comics communities. The name of the column evolved to "The Newswire" and then "CBI Newsarama" before finally becoming simply "Newsarama" in 1998.
The postings quickly became popular, as the speed of reporting on the Internet meant that Doran could break stories faster than most other comic-book news sources, which appeared in printed publications that had to be fully edited weeks before they were released. By the time other online comics journalists came on the scene, Newsarama had become an established brand. Although the column in its earliest forms reported both news and rumors, it later adopted a standard journalistic news approach.
Doran's postings left Usenet in 1998, becoming a "Newsarama" column on such websites as Mania.com, AnotherUniverse.com and Fandom.com (all defunct as of 2007) and Comicon.com before becoming a semi-autonomous site — Newsarama, hosted by Kevin Smith's ViewAskew.com network of sites — in August 2002.
Three months later, Doran left Newsarama — by now its own website — to take a staff position at Marvel Comics. Matt Brady, a writer who had written extensively for the site, took over. Doran later returned to working at Newsarama, with Brady continuing as primary writer. The site left the ViewAskew.com network and became independent in early April 2006. It was acquired by the Imaginova corporation in October 2007. When Brady left the site in July 2009, Doran and Lucas Siegel stepped up to run it, with Siegel taking the position of Site Editor. The site was acquired, along with Space.com and LiveScience.com, by TopTenREVIEWS in October 2009.
Newsarama has been quoted as a source of comics news by the mainstream media, including The New York Times. In 2006, Entertainment Weekly listed Newsarama as one of its "25 favorite online entertainment sites" and the American Library Association lists it as a digital resource in the field of comics. A subsequent Entertainment Weekly story also included Newsarama in its list "100 Greatest Websites".
Newsarama originally maintained a registered-member forum, talk@Newsarama, with over 25,000 registered users. In 2010, Newsarama dispensed with their traditional forums; readers are now directed to comment at the site's Facebook page.
Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada's column "Joe Fridays" (renamed "New Joe Fridays" in 2006 as a joke regarding Marvel's penchant for relaunching titles with the prefix "new") appeared weekly until 2008, when the column moved to MySpace. Quesada then began writing the column "Cup of Joe" on Comic Book Resources. Former DC Comics editor Michael Siglain's contributed the weekly "5.2 About 52", and in 2007, DC executive editor Dan DiDio announced he would write a column similar to "New Joe Fridays", focusing on the series Countdown. Didio has participated in the weekly "10 Answers and 1 Question" column for the site.
Regular columns have included "Animated Shorts" by the late Steve Fritz; "Write or Wrong" by Dirk Manning; "Best Shots" by reviewers from ShotgunReviews.com; "10 Answers and 1 Question with Dan DiDio"; "Weekly Webbing"; "Right to Assemble", covering Marvel's Avengers, titles by Troy Brownfield; "Column . . . for JUSTICE" by Brownfield, covering Justice League titles; "Getting Animated" and "Friday Flashback" by Brownfield; ; "Dial H for History" by David Pepose, covering recaps on comic book characters and trends; and "Agent of S.T.Y.L.E." by Alan Kistler, covering the evolution of costumes and designs for different comic book characters. Newsarama has also run a series of "Post Game" columns, offering coverage and commentary of popular genre-related television programs on a regular basis; covered shows include "Lost", "Smallville", "Batman: The Brave and the Bold", "Fringe", "FlashForward", and others.
Persistent criticism of the Newsarama has come from Rich Johnston, a rival comic-book industry columnist. Johnston has repeatedly used his columns to comment on the site and has suggested that Newsarama has an inappropriately close relationship to some of the major American comic book publishers.
One incident he cited involved Newsarama's coverage of a Marvel Comics publicity stunt that sought to briefly mislead comic book fans. While publicizing a new series in 2001, Marvel announced that it had uncovered a previously forgotten character, the Sentry, whose adventures the company claimed it originally published in the 1960s. The company issued a press release with this information, which quoted writers and artists and contained a false history of the character's 1960s creative origins. Though the character was in actuality a new creation with an entirely manufactured history, Newsarama (and other comic book industry news outlets, such as Wizard) reported on the story and quoted from the release without criticizing or challenging its claims. Johnston then criticized Newsarama and the other news outlets for publishing information they knew to be intentionally misleading.
In November 2005, Michael Dean in the The Comics Journal studied Internet comic-book industry news sources and evaluated Newsarama's journalistic performance. The study praised the site for the depth of coverage provided in some articles but criticized its reliance on press releases and the "softness" of the questions asked in its interviews. Dean focused on one story in particular, "Diamond Changes Thresholds" by Matt Brady. Though he found the piece qualified as "journalism", Dean also found it "contained factual inaccuracies, failed to get multiple points of view and sucked up to its corporate subject". The Brady story itself was eventually corrected of its factual inaccuracies by its author after Rich Johnston and others pointed out the errors.
The new format launched with multiple articles on comic books, television shows, movies and video games. These changes have been questioned by readers in the comment section of some articles Brady defended the changes.
The site has been the recipient of a number of awards and award nominations, including:
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