In 2005, I was invited to speak at the Eurasian Median Forum in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
I only went for two reasons: First, I wanted to see Almaty. Second, I wanted to meet one of the other speakers –Oh Yeon Ho.
Ohmy (based on Mr. Oh’s name, rather than an exclamation from Victorian England), was the world’s first open source style of news reporting. About 20% of the site’s content is written by a 55 person staff. The rest of the content comes from more than 27,000 ‘citizen reporters’ across Korea.
The Citzen Reporters are paid entirely on the basis of the number of hits their stories receive. It is a kind of pure market for news and information – a real ‘democratization’ of journalism.
OhmyNews was influential in determining the outcome of the South Korean presidential elections in December 2002 with the election of Roh Moo Hyun. After being elected, Roh granted his first interview to OhmyNews.
But Ohmy was done entirely in print.
I wondered if you could not do the same thing in video.
While I was in Almaty I met Ken Krushel, a former NBC executive and the founder of Proteus, a company that was one of the first to put video on cellular phones.
He liked the concept. So he, Carl Spielvogel (the former Chairman of Ad agency giant Backe/Spielvogel/Bates, and later Vice Chairman of Interpublic), formed CitizeNews.
We are out raising money to turn the vision into reality – a place where the burgeoning numbers of VJs around the world who already have video cameras and editing systems and stories to tell can post their work and get compensated for it.
I was not going to write about this until we had closed on the financing. But Josh Wolf beat me to it with a piece on C/Net today. I am not going to argue with a man who went to jail for half a year to defend the concept of free press.
Instead, I will gladly follow his lead.
We are looking to put together an open platform for the best videojournalists in the world. A place where their work, real news and information, honest and intimate reporting can both be published and compensated for. (not to end a sentence in a preposition).
Now, we are putting together a core group of ‘founding VJs’.
If you are interested in participating, get in touch with me directly.
We are heading out to the West Coast next week for a series of meetings with the silicon valley VCs. It’s going to be an interesting ride.