News or entertainment? What to make of “crowd-powered” sites like NowPublic and Truemors? 7/10/08Posted by Steve Boriss in Citizen journalism.
A lot of hard-to-categorize news-related sites have been popping-up in the last couple of years. “Crowd-powered” NowPublic provides news from eyewitnesses using their own digital cameras and mobile phones. And now they’ve acquired Truemors, a year-old web site that tracks rumors and vouches for their credibility. NowPublic co-founder Len Brody boasts, “We are now the largest user-generated news website in the world.” But, “so what?” unless all this user-generated content occupies a monetizable niche of the news business. Does it?
My hunch is that sites like NowPublic, should they succeed, might fill two different niches in the news industry of the future — and in neither case will they compete head-on with more mainstream news sites. First, if put in terms of food, they will fill a news niche somewhere between a “main meal” providing full nourishment and a titillating “snack.” Second, they may provide a good source of material for those “main meal” news providers of the future — news aggregators. All in all, there should continue to be a stronger market for news sites that do the work readers would rather not do themselves — sort out the most important news, and deliver the highest quality productions of it. (H/T: Larry Hallas)