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Couponing as Journalism The coupon content looks an awful lot like...reporting.

At some point, you run out of ways to shill for discounts on teeth-whitening services. Or so it seems if you look at SocialStudies DC, the blog launched in May by local deal-of-the-day titan LivingSocial. Many of the posts are cross-promotions of the company’s specials. But they also demonstrate an eagerness to step onto new turf: journalistic turf, to be exact. SocialStudies riffs on unemployment trends and publishes snarky cartoons; it broke news in September with a harrowing recap of how a resident spent a night in jail after being pulled over for expired tags. Likewise, competitor Scoutmob runs interviews with local creative types alongside its discount promos. The companies aren’t coy about the intent. “We see SocialStudies as another avenue to reach and engage with our members,” a LivingSocial spokeswoman says. And to sell more deals, presumably.

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