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Highlights | Silicon Alley Reporter

Silicon Alley Top 100 Executives
#78 Marc N. Weiss, Web Lab
January, 2000

      Amidst the sky-rocketing IPOs and e-commerce boom that have characterized the Internet over the past year, there are still a few people weighing in to offer meaningful content online. That's what Weiss is attempting to do. The media veteran realized the potential of the Internet after his award-winning PBS series P.O.V. generated its own popular website. He established Web Lab, a nonprofit designed to promote innovative Web projects, in the spring of 1997.
     With support from PBS Online and the Ford Foundation, the nonprofit has funded a range of sites through its Web Development Fund (WDF) project. In its first two rounds, the WDF evaluated over 700 proposals submitted though its open call process, and invested $200,000 into 11 projects. Standouts include VAGUEpolitix, a site taking a cynical look at pop culture and politics; Reality Check, an "extended dialogue" on impeachment; and American Love Stories, which features stories and dialogues about racial, religious and other differences in relationships and in society.
      This year, Web Lab developed small discussion group software in partnership with GMD studios, which has attracted attention from commercial venues and may be part of an intended for-profit arm in 2000, according to Weiss. Also on deck for the coming year--more partnerships though a new program enabling sponsors to underwrite targeted tracks for Web projects.


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