VancouverIAM, a new aggregator of local web, audio, and video content, is making a major push to take local citizen journalism to the next level. The company, which plans to roll out local aggregation sites all over North America (starting at the end of June with TorontoIAM.com and SeattleIAM.com), is funding and mentoring amateur and professional video producers through their Video Journalism program, while also providing a central viewing platform for locally produced content.
What makes all this possible is the proliferation of powerful, cheap software and inexpensive HD cameras, according to VancouverIAM creator George Fleming, who maintains that his site will help user-generated content challenge mainstream media.
What’s interesting is how the IAM network aims to use a similar approach to other user-generated journalism sites like Vancouver’s NowPublic, but with an eye towards making their content slicker than NowPublic. The rise of Internet video has revealed a wellspring of untapped video talent, and VancouverIAM might be the site that showcases that talent and propels it to the next level.
Disclaimer: I have done some free consulting for VancouverIAM.com, as well as some freelance video editing work for the company.