It’s All Journalism: Crowdsourcing, Video Production and Covering Local News

This week, we’re wrapping up our coverage of the 2014 Online News Association Conference in Chicago. Our podcast features three one-on-one interviews that I did on the floor of the Midway.

First up, I talk to is Phil Groman, the product lead and the founder of Stringwire, a platform developed by NBCUniversal to crowdsource live video from eyewitnesses at the scene of breaking news.

“We’re trying to close the gap between a story breaking, and a professional news crew getting on the scene,” Groman said. “And in the interim period, as news organizations, we rely on third-party platforms, on media that has already been generated in the past, on YouTube videos or tweets or Instagram photos that have been posted. In a breaking-news context, there is this continuum of the story that is captured, but after the fact, through these recorded mediums.”

What Stringwire aims to do is provide a place for eyewitnesses at the scene of breaking-news events to stream live video, which can be verified more quickly.

“Stringwire has always been as tool for citizen reporting, as a tool for crowdsourcing from the people that are close to the stories,” Groman said. “But during our internal beta it was, of course, used by our own journalists when they got deployed to a story.”

The Stringwire app is now available for download on GooglePlay and the iTunes Store.

The second interview is with Carla Zuill, who works with Ocean Media, a small company that’s planning to launch an online daily to cover news in Bermuda.

Bermuda has a small population — about 65,000 — and the younger part of that potential audience is the most engaged when it comes to digital media.

“We’re currently looking for a way actually to engage more youth in the community, getting them more involved in the day-to-day happenings on the island,” Zuill said. “We’re not just going to be online data, but we’re also looking to be trend setter in how we’re going to disseminate our information as well using comprehensive social media.”

The final portion of the podcast starts off with a presentation by Cristoph Pleitgen, the business development leader at Wochit.

Wotchit was founded to tackle two problems — to make video production for Web and mobile commercially feasible and to streamline the video production process.

“We’re not the people who will bring you fully automated video,” Pleitgen said. “That’s not something we believe in. We think from a user perspective, it’s not particularly engaging. We think it’s editorially risky, and we wonder what it does for you as a news brand. Instead, we’d like to use technology, smart automation … at the hands of storytellers, of bloggers, of journalists. Our mission is to empower journalists and not replace them.”

After his presentation, he sat down to chat and answer a few questions about how Wotchit works.

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