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Citizen Journalism website scores $10 million deal

07 August, 2007
By Allison Orr

The fast-growing citizen journalism website, NowPublic, has received US$10.6 million in funding from a venture company, which the founders plan to use to grow the website into a major news agency.

"I promise you, in 18 months NowPublic will be, by reach, the largest news agency in the world," start-up co-founder Len Brody said.

Like so many other Internet success stories, NowPublic started as a small news site in the founders’ garage in 2005, and it has grown to become a leader in the emerging field of citizen journalism.  It is a self-described "participatory news network" drawing on potential contributions from as many as 120,000 members.  Calling the site crowd powered media, it is an example of what has become known as "crowd sourced news", which is news content derived from a large number of contributors, including reporters, bloggers, commentators, and other non-professional newswriters.

Anyone can write a story or upload photos, audio or video, and the lead story is voted on by the site’s readers.  According to Time magazine, the site gets about 1 million unique visitors a month.  All the content is user-driven, about half of which is original writings and the rest to links to other news articles. 

Contributors are not paid for their submissions, but the new funding will include ways to reward people that upload stories.  NowPublic are also working on partnerships with newspapers, magazines and wire services.  Because NowPublic’s thousands of contributors can be (and are) everywhere, Associated Press has already formed a partnership with the site, purchasing some stories and photos.  NowPublic has been first on several news stories, including the Virginia Tech shooting.

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