In the wake of Arab Spring and Occupy, newly awakened
newshounds are seeking real-time reportage, ground-level updates, and from-the-source authenticity. Along with an upsurge in publications that encourage open source news-telling in long-form narratives
, several new apps are putting a mobile spin on traditional journalism. These apps combine ease of use with an array of incentives to make correspondents out of any smartphone-savvy sources.
Journalist Melinda Wittstock
, harnessing both crowdsourcing
, hopes to create a flourishing source of citizen journalism with her new reporting platform NewsiT
. Participants in Wittstock’s mobile, crowd-reporting experiment accept distinct tasks in order to contribute to evolving news items. They can opt to interview a source, capture an image, or check a fact in order to add their weight to an ongoing assignment
. Intrepid news-breakers can also upload images and videos in order to initiate stories of their own. Users who contribute to and/or rate NewsiT content are rewarded with points that enhance their on-site editorial status and expand their access.
New app Siggly
appeals to potential users with its unfailing simplicity and familiar medium. Currently in private beta, it borrows from some white-hot current tech trends, such as geo-location
, crowdsourcing, and widely popular
, highly profitable Instagram
. Users at the scene of a newsworthy event can capture relevant media on the spot, upload it to Siggly from their geo-tagged location, and add a 60-character caption to explain what's happening. For ease of sorting and searching, content is pushed together algorithmically, under single headings by event, regardless of who submitted the relevant items. Users can also vote to promote items in the feed, a nod to the app's democratic underpinning.
As its name suggests, Rawporter
places emphasis on raw footage and on-the-ground updates that can be filed quickly. The app operates on a monetized platform similar to that of TaskRabbit
and other small-job outsourcing apps
. Media outlets in need of at-the-scene footage—for example, photos from the site of an accident or video of an unexpected weather event—can post their content request, along with the amount they are willing to pay, to Rawporter’s assignment bank. Enterprising users (and those who simply find themselves in the right place at the right time) can supply desirable images or videos, or submit unsolicited footage in the hope that a major news outlet might pick it up.