Citizen journalism website gets multi-million-dollar boost

SAN FRANCISCO, July 30, 2007 (AFP) – NowPublic announced Monday that the fast-growing citizen journalism website has scored 10.6 million dollars (US) in financing to fuel its drive to become the world’s largest news agency. The Vancouver-based start-up says it is growing at a rate of 35 percent monthly and has nearly 120,000 contributing “reporters” in more than 140 countries.

In part of a trend referred to as “citizen journalism,” NowPublic lets anyone with digital cameras or a camera-enable mobile telephones upload images or news snippets for dissemination via the Internet.

Time Magazine lists NowPublic among its top 50 websites of 2007.

“I promise you, in 18 months NowPublic will be, by reach, the largest news agency in the world,” start-up co-founder Len Brody told AFP.

“The most exciting thing for us is this started as an experiment in a garage behind a house and we are breaking stories and changing the news business.”

The financing is led by Rho Ventures in the United States and Canada.

Uses for the money will include ways to reward people that upload stories or images, and developing a system to “geo-locate” contributors so they can be found if they are in range of developments deemed n