Addicted to novelty since 2001

Deconstructing Citizen Journalism

Tod Maffin (I just accidentally wrote ‘Tad Moffin’, which would be both an excellent nickname and a great couple of adjectives–“I’m feeling a tad moffin today”) wrote an insightful post about the recent bridge collapse in Minneapolis, and how NowPublic covered it:

But even hours after news of the bridge collapse was all over the cable news networks, NowPublic’s story of the collapse had only two contributors to the story (one of whom is actually an employee of NowPublic).

Their “coverage” consisted of an excerpt from a MSM article, five screen captures from CNN, and two maps. This, again, was hours after the story broke.

Tod asks an important question of NowPublic co-founder Michael Tippett near the end of his piece: “How then do you compete against the CNNs and the CBCs and the CTVs of the world who [tell their audience] ‘When a big news event happens, upload it to us.‘”

Tod’s obviously biased, but I agree that Michael’s answer feels unsatisfactory: “There are cases where people will send to us because they feel like they have a greater chance of getting their side of the story told.”

I’m biased too, because I think that’s a marketing problem. NowPublic needs to let the world–not the blogosphere or Facebook users, but every Normal Human with a phone camera–know about NowPublic, and offer some convincing reasons to choose them over CNN, Fox News et al. It’s a battle for citizen journalist’s eyes and ears, and NowPublic needs to build some powerful messaging around their platform, because they’re the new, upstart kid on the media block.

We can all point to anecdotal examples of citizen journalism’s success. As that concept travels into the trough of disillusionment, it’s going to need to prove it can work and win on every story to reach mainstream adoption.

2 Responses to “Deconstructing Citizen Journalism”

  1. Ryan Nadel

    Thanks for the post about NP – appreciate the comments and insight. Wanted to point out that although it did take an hour or two to get some original footage it came in. In came in fast enough to beat the world’s largest news agency, the Associated Press, to the scene and they bought two pictures. See here, http://members.nowpublic.com/ap_buys_nowpublic_photos_minneapolis_bridge_collapse

    So in this case we may not have been able to beat the news choppers of Fox.

    I appreciated your comment about the trough of disappointment very much – the expectations definitely are high and we are game to meet them.

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