June 14, 2006 3:35 PM PDT

Mark Cuban invests in new journalism Web site

Entrepreneur billionaire Mark Cuban has invested in a new journalism site focused on exposing corporate fraud.

Sharesleuth.com, the brainchild of veteran St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Chris Carey, is expected to go live next month.

"It will be a blog-style news operation dedicated to exposing securities fraud and corporate malfeasance. We're going to identify questionable companies and tell compelling, deeply researched stories about the people behind them," Carey told CNET News.com in an e-mail on Wednesday. Carey will serve as the editor and president of Sharesleuth.com.

But the site could have a twofold purpose.

Cuban told an Associated Press reporter that he would use the knowledge garnered by investigators for the site to buy and sell stocks before stories are published. The statement raised some eyebrows about journalistic ethics, as many publications have strict policies concerning investments in the industries they cover. Cuban was an executive producer for "Good Night, and Good Luck," a film portraying broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow and his efforts to bring down Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

But Cuban, never a conformist to old-school rules, sees it differently.

"How is it any different than the many commentators on CNBC and FOX News, Bloomberg, etc., that buy or short stocks, then regularly go on air and discuss their positions and why they took them?" Cuban told CNET News.com in an e-mail.

"Isn't the smart investor the one who does their research and then makes a buy or sell decision? In our case, we will do the same thing, only we will publish why we are doing it," Cuban said.

Carey agreed with Cuban's general sentiment, but gave more details on how the setup will work.

"To avoid conflict of interest issues, I've never invested in individual stocks, and I don't intend to while running Sharesleuth.com," he said. "Mark Cuban and I agreed that he could trade on information that the site reports, though not all stories would even offer that possibility."

While not all the details on how the system will work have been determined, Carey said that any such trading will be fully disclosed and legal.

The unusual partnership of new-age entrepreneur and veteran journalist began over the Internet.

Cuban, perhaps best known as the unconventional owner of the Dallas Mavericks, maintains Blog Maverick. In e-mailing the billionaire blogger about one of his posts, Carey mentioned the idea for a news organization dedicated to covering stock fraud. Cuban expressed an interest in financing such a venture, and the relationship grew from there.

As many newspapers look to save money, Carey said, their focus of coverage is becoming more local. Sharesleuth.com will give him the opportunity to pursue fraud stories in depth, something he believes newspapers are shying away from because of the cost and manpower needed to investigate it.

He also hopes to tap into a more national and international audience. The site will utilize HDNet and HDNet Films resources to offer original investigative reporting with multimedia content. Cuban is co-founder of HDNet, a TV provider for high-definition programming.

Cuban was also the founder of Broadcast.com, a multimedia and video streaming Internet company, which he sold to Yahoo for $5.7 billion in 1999. The following year he bought the Dallas Mavericks. Since then, the team has gone from an NBA loser to a championship contender. Cuban also financed Grokster's defense against MGM in the lawsuit concerning peer-to-peer file sharing.

The Sharesleuth.com venture was first reported by PaidContent.org.

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2 comments

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A good beginning
They have their first story.
Posted by nicmart (1829 comments )
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Will their be info on how Cuban
convinced Yahoo to waste $5.7 billion on Broadcast.com?
Posted by ebrandel (102 comments )
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