The lone Canadian presenter at Online News Association is Leonard Brody, CEO of NowPublic. He's talking about crowdsourced journalism and mobilizing the audience, eschews the term citizen journalism, and wants to create a fundamental breaking news channel online and to transform journalism into a two-way channel.
Five kind of groups engage in user-generated content: people motivated by money (small), those driven by vanity and ego (large), those motivated by issues, accidental bystanders (the largest), and people who are just "plain old crazy."
Actually, the nutbars are providing "interesting stuff. . . .As long as they don't know where you live."
NowPublic has two million readers a month, 127,000 contributing members in more than 60 countries, financed with $12.5 million in venture capital, and has an interactive process when people contribute content.
The only way to be successful is to know the audience, he asserts.
He thinks traditional media has done a good job in getting people to comment, but not to have a dialogue, so it's still a one-way conversation.
Will it move to an era of paying people for content? Probably, but not for a large group.
How does this work get checked? To be clear, Brody said: We are not journalists. We shouldn't mislead ourselves about ethics and fact-checking about dialogue. We get facts checked by a community.
There were clearly several skeptics in the room, but the room was full, and there seemed to be many more intrigued than not ---- which bodes well for their premise. (Disclosure: Leonard Brody and I know each other in Vancouver.)