In recent years, the news has gone from being right to being first. And so, many established news organizations have turned to local non-professionals to take videos and pictures of news events, as they are typically the first ones on the scene.
It is in that vein that NBC News has purchased Stringwire, which enables the real-time sharing of smartphone video, according to a report from the New York Times on Sunday.
Stringwire works by sending tweets to those people who send Twitter messages when they witness a news event. These potential camera operators will then be invited to click on a link and point their handset camera at the event. Live video will then begin streaming back to the network without the need for a special app. NBC will then vet the submissions.
"You could get 30 people all feeding video, holding up their smartphones, and then we could look at that," Vivian Schiller, the chief digital officer for NBC News, said in an interview with the Times. "We'll be able to publish and broadcast some of them."
While no official announcement of the purchase has been made so far, it is expected to come sometime on Monday. In the meantime, Stringwire's move to NBC has been confirmed in tweets from both Schiller, as well as Stringwire founder Phil Groman.
Taking a look at the Stringwire website, the service still seems to be in beta mode, so it makes sense that, according to the Times, this is an acqui-hire for NBC News, who are said to be most interested in bringing Groman onto the team as a product lead.
He will be based at the NBC News Digital Group’s office in San Francisco, where he will finish building Stringwire.
Stringwire is set to be used by the news division, at least at first. Schiller also told the Times that she felt that it could also be used in commercial settings and could also be licensed out to create a new revenue source for NBC.
As we have all seen over the last few years, Twitter can have a major impact on news stories from around the world, from the Iranian election protests in 2009, to the protests in Egypt two years later that led to the ousting of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to the devastating earthquake in Japan in 2011.
Now, Stringwire and NBC want to take that power and create powerful video out of it as well.
(Image source: http://www.stringwire.com)