Science

B.C.-based 'citizen journalism' website raises $10.6 million

Vancouver's NowPublic Technologies Inc., which calls itself the world's largest participatory news network, announced Monday it had received a record amount for venture-capital financing in its category.

Vancouver's NowPublic Technologies Inc., which calls itself the world's largest participatory news network, announced Monday it had received $10.6-million USin venture-capital financing.

The financing deal was led by New-York-based Rho Ventures. Two other venture firms, Brightspark and Working Opportunity fund, managed by GrowthWorks Capital Ltd, also participated in the transaction.

"This round of financing will enable NowPublic to further its goal of being the largest news network in the world with more people on the ground in the right places and at the right times to report news," said the company in a statement.

"This financing represents the largest single commitment to citizen generated news yet assembled by a company in the category," it added.

NowPublic began in 2005, in what it calls the "emerging field of citizen journalism," where anyone can contribute to the site in various ways such as adding text, photos, video or audio. It currently employs about 20 people in Vancouver, the UnitedStatesand other countries.

The companysays it has 100,000 non-professional contributing reporters to its website from more than 140 countries and 3,600 cities.

NowPublic also announced Monday that it's expanding its partnership with the Associated Press to include AP's bureaus across the United States.The AP is the world's largest newsgathering organization, with a staff of more than 4,000 employees located in more than 240 bureaus in 97 countries.

Time Magazine called NowPublic.com one of the top 50 websites for 2007.

While not a new phenomenon, "citizen journalism"seems to be on the rise alongwith advancing technologies. Companies seem to be increasingly recognizing and incorporating it into their websites.

Late last year Yahoo and Reuters launched avenue for citizen journalism where people can upload photos and videos for possible publication.

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