Many startups have tried to take on social news site Digg. Mixx is one of them, but it has a few additional features that lets users fine-tune what stories they see on the site — and it’s made some deals with big newspapers.

The company has shown enough progress since launching in October that it has brought back existing investor Durham-based Intersouth Partners for a $2 million round.

Similar to Digg and competitors, Mixx lets you submit stories, vote on your favorite submissions, add your own comments, and see the most popular stories on the site’s front page. It also shows you news stories, photos, videos and other submitted content based on where you live and what your self-defined interests are.

Mixx also has other differences, like its focus on user participation. Digg has an algorithm that it uses to rank the effect of a user’s vote, but reveals only limited information about the algorithm and also makes changes to it on the fly — making many top Digg users scratch their heads.

In contrast, Mixx employees themselves blog regularly and openly explain how users can accumulate points for doing things like submitting popular stories and leaving quality comments — and even gain access to special powers.

For a different approach to customization, take a look at Reddit. Possibly the most successful Digg competitor, this Conde Naste-owned company also offers a white-label social news services that is gaining some traction among users. For example, there’s one version of Reddit called l33t — or “elite tech news” — that features the submissions, votes and comments of a core group of bloggers and their friends.

Every social news startup seems to be looking towards print publications. Digg itself has a deal with the Wall Street Journal.

Mixx, a product of a McLean, Va. company called Recommended Reading, has been favored by newspapers looking to boost their web sites with a custom social news site focused on their articles. It raised a small amount of funding from one client, the LA Times, last fall. It also has deals with USA Today,, The Weather Channel, and others.

The company previously raised $1.5 million round of funding, in a round led by Intersouth Partners.