There was widespread coverage and conversation today on the VC investment in NowPublic.com, a site that bills itself as "crowd powered media." USA Today and Gannett turned heads last year when it revamped its approach to publishing news online and reporting on it by bringing citizens into the journalistic process. CNN made it possible for a Virginia Tech student to submit a camera phone video of the scene outside the building of the tragic events of this past spring.
NowPublic claims over 100,000 reporters in nearly 4,000 cities around the world, and recently formed a partnership with AP for the news service to leverage content from NowPublic as part of its coverage. Whatever it is called — crowdsourcing, citizen journalism, open source journalism — it is a building force that requires communicators to adapt. I often see in "new PR" conversations that companies are losing control over getting a story told because anyone can start a blog, and because anyone can be a journalist.
I look at it differently. Companies still have control. It requires thinking about communications differently and using social media to tell your story directly to the public, and in particular, your community — which could include the "new reporters."