Former Walrus staffer to launch online news site

A new “online forum for news and opinion” called The Mark is in development mode and is scheduled to launch this Spring.

Joshua Knelman is in the editor’s chair of the ambitious project. Knelman, former associate editor, fiction editor and head of research at The Walrus, joins two other full-time staffers in creating The Mark.

Strategy consultant and MBA Jeff Anders is CEO and former Globe and Mail senior exec Ali Rahnema is publisher and COO.

The team is currently in the process of recruiting prominent Canadians to become contributors to the site. The recruitment material describes the Mark as:

“The Mark is Canada’s daily online forum for news and opinion. Every day it publishes 10-20 two-sentence briefs of the day’s most important news stories and associates related multimedia content to each summary: commentary and analysis written by subject matter experts; audio conversations and interviews with and between experts; video footage from conferences, speaker events and book launches; documentary films; links to other websites and more. Independent of the day’s news, The Mark will also feature the ideas of 5-10 thought-leaders through written, audio and video pieces. The Mark is a digital meeting place for the exchange of ideas.”

The idea is that there are Canadians out there who are experts in their chosen field, but who don’t consider themselves writers and so don’t publish their opinions and or knowledge.

The project’s goal is to gather a “network of 10,000 innovative Canadian thinkers and doers” and “disseminate their ideas to 1-million readers every month.”

According to Anders, recruitment started at the end of January and “we have already signed on contributors numbering in the low hundreds, including former MPs, authors, academics, filmmakers, CEOs, NGO directors and more. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Anders, Knelman and Rahnema have been working on developing the project for almost a year, but Anders says they all left their “day” jobs about three or four months ago to work on The Mark full time.