The last company to present yesterday at TechCrunch50 was picked by the audience from the more than 100 additional companies vying for attention in our DemoPit. Every attendee got three TC50 poker chips that they could give to a DemoPit company each day, and the one with the most chips at the end of the conference became our 52nd finalist. This year’s winner was Iamnews, a crowdsourced newsroom with ambitions to one day take on AP and Reuters.
Iamnews is a news assignment hub for blogs and news Websites. It is a tool for crowdsourcing news. A blog or any Web publisher can use it to solicit submissions from citizen journalists—videos, photos, links, Twitters, notes, or full articles The Web publisher then takes all the submissions and pulls together the best ones to create a post or article..
Israeli founder Nir Ofir, who is also the founder of Blog.tv, explained:
The problem is most small to medium publishers do not have the resources to tap copyrighted news and photos. We allow publishers to create news assignments, invite reporters to come in and collaborate in the creation of news. You can invite your own reporters, or we can match you with reporters.
So a blog that wants to cover an event like next year’s TC50, for instance, could put out an assignment and solicit reports, photos, and videos from other bloggers at the conference and attendees themselves. Crowdsourced journalism just took a step forward. The site is still in private alpha, but we will have invites soon.
Loic Le Meur: Who are you targeting?
Nir Ofir: Bloggers and small publishers that do not have the resources to create news. They don’t have news teams so we want to create news teams for them .
Don Dodge: Who gets paid and how?
Ofir: What we are planning to create is a market layer, collect all the footage and news created this way and distribute it to other media brands, and allow other contributors to make some revenue. Today’s media brands are buying news from AP and Reuters. What we want is for them to buy news from us.
Jeff Weiner: When you got the assignment desk component it looked pretty interesting. Is there any element to what you are doing that will allow you to get critical mass faster than other content exchanges out there?
Ofir.: We don’t want to be a destination site. But by creating partnerships with destination sites we hope to create a bigger network, because they are the brands and the editors.
Weiner: Will you be assigning reputation value to the individual contributors?
Ofir: Exactly. We are planning to create some kind of an eBay feedback mechanism so you as a publisher can decide this is someonethat I can trust, this is someone I can buy news from him.
Sean Parker: Will the readers be able to say there was a factual error in this?
Ofir: We are supplying the Publisher the tools from the creation of the article until it is published. So I guess we are not supplying this kind of solution.