Startup Now Public Wants to Shake Up News Business

Public founder and CEO Leonard Brody is looking for his company to do
to the news business what Skype did to the telecommunications industry.

Mr. Brody, speaking on Sunday at Red Herring’s ETRE, the annual
European technology conference, this year in Budapest, said his company
was relying enitrely on citizen journalists to cover news events.

"We are building the next generation Reuters,"  Mr. Brody said.

Now Public was founded two years ago and is based in New York and
Vancouver, Canada.  The company claims to have the largest
so-called citizen news network in the world with 130,000 contributors
in 140 countries. Very few of them are actually paid. 

The site posts some 600 stories on an average day and already has 1
million unique visitors a month. The company has also signed a
partnership agreement with The Associated Press to supply the news
agency with images. Now Public claims that it had the first images out
of Myanmar during the recent wave of demonstrations against the
military government.

The content at Now Public comes from citizen journalists who are
witnesses to events and are equipped with cell phones and the ability
to take pictures or record.

Mr. Brody said that the growth of citizen journalism is due to an
inability of news organizations to be on the scene of most breaking
news events and increasing reliance of those under 35 on the Internet
as their main source of news.

In July, Now Public raised $13 million, in a first round of funding, from investors led by Rho Ventures.

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