NowPublic, a New Twist on Citizen Journalism

nowpublicJohn Cook’s Venture Blog – Citizen journalism north of the border Well no sooner does Dan Gilmor throw in the towell than NowPublic picks up where he left off. Yesterday I blogged about the fact that it wasn’t that I felt Dan’s idea was so off, but rather than it could have been something as simple as his site design and interesting hooks that kept the idea and site from getting off the ground.

Now John Cook blogs over at the Seattle PI (can you really blog for a maninstream media site?) about NowPublic which is citizen journalism being billed as Web 2.0 + News 2.0 = Now Public. Gilmor serves as an advisor to NowPublic but it may be their strength in site and concept design that end up making their project a success where Dan’s own failed.

It sounds like they are trying to create the mother of all mashups for citizen journalism combining concepts from all of the best Web 2.0 properties. The CEO of the company Michael Tippett apparently is close friends with Stewart and Caterina from Flickr.

Tippett on what NowPublic is planning: “We are not just a digg, where we are focused on the editorial stuff, or a Flickr, where we are focused on photography, or YouTube, where it is just video, or Blogger, for that matter, where it is just written stuff. We are pretty much everything…. We organize all of the information around these news events and people can collaborate and report on news stories from whereever they are with whatever device they are using.”

“That means someone with a camera phone could snap a few photos of a warehouse fire in Tacoma or an individual in Louisiana could post audio interviews from construction workers who are rebuilding New Orleans. All of that user-generated content could add to the unfolding story, he said.”

In my opinion Digg is the hottest thing to happen to news in a long time and represents a massive democratization of how we get news, and it certainly breaks fast. Digg though is in some ways more of a free for all — the jump ball of modern journalism. And they certainly don’t tie in things like photos and video. Recenlty I sent an email to Jay Adelson CEO at Digg suggesting that they explore the concept of Digg for Photos — it really could take off and although it might be Flickr-like, it could also be something entirely very different. It sounds like what NowPublic may be pursuing is something more along those lines.

It will be interesting to see if NowPublic ends up having more success than Dan did.