That the team behind Trove worked closely with the Washington Post newsroom for four years is a huge opportunity, according to Ravindran. "They come from a place of really valuing the work of journalists."
Though Trove will launch with ads only on its Web platform—not the mobile apps, which are likely to be more popular—the business opportunity is clear.
In addition to the addition of mobile ads targeted by interest, brands themselves could share content on Trove, just as they do on Pinterest, drawing millions of followers.
"A lot of brands are already spending a lot to develop content," Ravindran says, "and we think Trove is a very efficient way to express yourself."
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Graham Holdings says it hopes Trove will become as big a business as two of its other assets, Social ad agency SocialCode and home health-care provider Celtic Healthcare.
Users can download the app from Trove.com and watch a demo video at vimeo.com.
News readers are becoming important components of social media companies. Facebook is expected to launch one, Paper, in the coming weeks. LinkedIn has a news reader app called Pulse, and Twitter tries to make it easy for users to comment on and follow news stories.
The social media giants stand to benefit from the opportunity to target ads based on interest and from more engagement as people stick around longer to read articles rather than leaving for outside sites.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said that the Boston Celtics' Kris Humphries would be a curator. He was scheduled to participate, but in fact did not participate for the launch.
—By CNBC's Julia Boorstin. Follow her on Twitter: