Ironically, everyone reported today that NowPublic, a leading citizen journalism site based in Vancouver, has closed a US $10.6-million round of financing from venture capital groups in the US and Canada. The financing arrangement is one of the largest deals involving a citizen-journalism service and comes from New York-based Rho Ventures as well as Canadian venture groups Brightspark and GrowthWorks Capital, both of which were early investors in NowPublic. NowPublic now has more than 100,000 reporters in 140 countries and almost 4,000 cities. Just over a year ago, the service had only 13,000 members.
According to a commenter on Techcrunch, membership growth has largely been fuelled by the creative strategy of republishing ‘creative commons’ photos from sites like Flickr and then inviting the photographer to grant permission to use the photo and become a NowPublic member. NowPublic has a content-sharing arrangement with Associated Press which was recently expanded to allow AP bureaus from the United States to use NowPublic content as well. The company plans to use the proceeds of the financing to expand its technology including making it easier to post news tips and photos from mobile devices. In addition, they are looking at ways of compensating members for their contributions.