Cory Booker Opens Video Service #Waywire In A Public Alpha

#Waywire (yes, the name comes in hashtag format), the video news-sharing service co-created by Newark Mayor Cory Booker, just opened to everyone in a public alpha.

Booker made the announcement on-stage at TechCrunch Disrupt, where he pitched #waywire as a way to democratize the news and upend the “oligarchy” running the media. One of the best quotes: “The power of the people is more important than the people in power.” Later in the interview, he elaborated on his vision and how it fits into the larger social media landscape:

There are these huge utilities in the social sphere that are very powerful and we all rely on — Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. And the key is not to try to create a product that’s going to muscle them out of the way. What we wanted to do is very elegantly lay on top of these platforms to use people’s existing social networks to give them a richer experience on the web that better helps them to discover content, that better helps them share it to their friends, and when they feel passionate, when something really matters to them, for them to actually lay it on that and contribute to that.

You’d think that Booker would have his hands full leading the government of a major city, but he said, “Private sector work, I realize, as challenging as it is, is more difficult than government work”. He added that #waywire comes, in part, from his belief in the First Amendment, which leads to a belief that people “have something to say” and should have a chance to contribute to the “marketplace of ideas.”

TechCrunch previewed #waywire last month. At the time, we said the most disruptive feature was the database of raw footage from 60 content partners, including Reuters, so users can edit together their own reports on breaking news. (We also offered some early alpha invites.) However, this is the first time anyone can go to the #waywire site and sign up.