AP jumps into citizen journalism with NowPublic deal

By Cory Bergman Comment

The Associated Press is teaming up with NowPublic to integrated user-submitted content into the AP network, which includes exploring ways to “involve NowPublic’s on-the-ground network of news contributors in AP’s breaking news coverage.” This may include everything from eyewitness accounts to originally-produced content. If you’re not familiar with NowPublic, it’s a citizen journalism site with 60,000 contributors from 140 countries, and growing fast. Earlier this week, online news pioneer Merrill Brown joined NowPublic as chairman of the board. In effect, with AP’s broad distribution, this is the biggest development so far in the short history of citizen journalism, although Reuter’s recent citizen journalism deal with Yahoo’s You Witness News is a close second. All this is certainly worth watching closely over the next several months. Press release beneath NowPublic’s screen grab…

PRESS RELEASE — NEW YORK — The Associated Press and NowPublic.com announced Friday that they have agreed to an innovative initiative designed to bring citizen content into AP newsgathering, and to explore ways to involve NowPublic’s on-the-ground network of news contributors in AP’s breaking news coverage.

NowPublic.com, based in Vancouver, is the world’s largest participatory news network with more than 60,000 contributors from 140 countries. The AP is the world’s largest newsgathering organization with a staff of more than 4,000 employees located in more than 240 bureaus in 97 countries.

The goal of the effort is to expand the world’s access to news as it happens, the companies said. In addition, it is designed to help NowPublic expand its rapidly growing network of worldwide contributors by exposing them to the opportunities they have to produce valuable news material.

“The Associated Press has a long tradition of pursuing citizen contributions in breaking news events worldwide,” said Jim Kennedy, AP’s vice president and director of strategic planning. “This relationship will make that connection even stronger and result in more news and images from people who are in the right place at the right time.”

“NowPublic’s idea of a working relationship between the public as citizen media, and traditional reporters in the mainstream media started taking shape in 2006,” said NowPublic co-founder and CEO Leonard Brody. “This collaboration is one of the initial endeavors.”

Contributions to the AP news report from NowPublic’s network of participants could take many forms over time, said AP Deputy Managing Editor for Multimedia Lou Ferrara. “They could range from simple eyewitness accounts to originally produced content.”

In the early stages of the relationship, AP bureaus will work with NowPublic communities in selected locations on ways to enhance regional news coverage. National AP news desks also may tap the network in breaking news situations where citizen contributors may capture critical information and images. NowPublic also will help AP extend its coverage of virtual communities, such as social networks and contributed content sites, Ferrara said.

About NowPublic
NowPublic is a crowd-sourced, participatory news network that mobilizes an army of reporters to cover the events that define our world. In just 12 months, the company has become the largest news organization of its kind with over 60,000 reporters in over 140 countries. This year, The Guardian named NowPublic one of the top five most useful news sites on the Web. The company has received funding from Brightspark, New York Angels and GrowthWorks and members of the New York Angels.