NBC News has bought young firm Stringwire to boost its citizen journalism powers, the New York Times reports. The acquisition has a little bit to do with the company’s web video streaming tech, and a lot more to do with its developer Phil Groman, who created the tech while still a graduate student. Groman will become a product lead at NBC.
Stringwire is designed to leverage the crowd for video sources during ongoing news events. When a person at a news event tweets that they’ve seen something, they’re sent a link that asks them to simply start shooting video–the content they acquire is then automatically streamed directly to the app’s servers, which from now on will probably be NBC’s video desk.
CNN has long used its iReport system in similar ways, although it’s not as proactive as Stringwire’s system seems to be. Citizen journalism, particularly through Twitter, is seen by many as an important component of future news reporting not least because we’re all carrying cameras in the form of smartphones. The first photos of the miraculous Hudson river Airbus ditching accident, for example, were shared via Twitter, and Reddit played a role in the Boston bombing manhunt.