Vancouver’s Now Public gets $10.6 million

NowPublic – wii

Originally uploaded by The Chaninatorâ„¢.

Now Public is a Vancouver based site that’s meant to be a central hub for citizen journalists [np]. If you haven’t looked at it before check it out, it’s work a look. So much so that it just recieved over ten million dollars (US) in venture capital money [cbc]. It’s good news that a Vancouver start-up is getting some VC love, and all the best to them.

My only issue is a my belief that with a few exceptions the idea of citizen journalism is bullshit. I think that there can be websites that deliver news content, and that they don’t have to be owned by traditional media, but the fact is doing proper journalism is more than most people can do as a hobby. Most of the content on Now Public seems to be cut and pasted stories from other news sites, sometimes with comment below. Hey we do that here, as long as it’s proper attributed there’s nothing against the law about it, but I wouldn’t call myself a citizen journalist because I linked to the CBC for this story. I didn’t report on the story, I didn’t do the interview or fact check it the CBC did.

I’m all for alternative media, such as The Tyee [tt], but most of what’s on Now Public in relation to Vancouver is either a) reposted stories from major media, b) one sided stories with no actual journalistic integrity c) last and numberically least stories with actual journalistic intent. Again I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, I’m just saying that it’s not journalism. The big name media isn’t going to be replaced with citizen journalists anytime soon if all they do is copy and paste big name media stories.

And why should we expect them to? Writing a good news story takes effort and time, and most people just don’t have the time, connections and resources to do it on their own. Sometimes a blogger lucks out and just happens to be on the scene of an important story and I suppose Now Public’s hope is that if enough bloggers are on their team the number of lucky onsite people will give them something worth calling themselves a new source. It’s not there yet though, and we’ll see how far $10 million goes to taking it to that level.

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