FindStringers is an agency connecting newsrooms with freelance journalists, particularly reporters who can provide breaking news reports. The idea is that stringers use the Vericorder iPhone app – which is called Voddio – to film and edit video, pictures and text, sending the content to the newsroom in a matter of minutes.
"We can allow a media company to find, hire and integrate any reporter in the world directly into their newsroom, either through our app or via a laptop," Gary Symons, president and chief product architect at Vericorder, told Journalism.co.uk in this video interview.
If a newsroom had been covering the story of the Boston marathon bombings, for example, an editor would have been able to "click on a map, find people there, hire them on the spot and have them sending film back within five minutes".
"Our goal is to get news to air almost as fast as Twitter," Symons said.
Canada-based Vericorder launched FindStringers in late 2011. The company is now looking to expand and grow the agency as it has since launched Voddio Console, a newsroom management system, and is looking to connect editors and freelancers.
How does FindStringers work for freelancers?
Freelancers pay to join FindStringers (Journalism.co.uk is partnering with FindStringers, offering a free premium account to freelancers who join our freelance journalist directory, which costs £50 a year).
The freelancer then sets his or her own rate which the newsroom confirms and they enter an agreement.
The stringer in the field then uploads the video, which is transcoded into the newsroom's preferred format and is delivered to the 'Voddio Console' in the newsroom.
The platform also acts as a "media marketplace for freelancers", Symons explained. Freelancers can shoot video which is flagged up to editors working on stories on the same theme.
How does FindStringers work for newsrooms?
There are systems in place so newsrooms can be confident they are getting content supplied by qualified and credible journalists.
Symons explained that the journalist is vetted to ensure they are a professional, helped by both linking with journalism schools, professional associations and taking payment from the journalist to get further details.
Vericorder has been working with a number of news outlets which have been helping test the system. Symons said he could not reveal details, but said trial partners include a "very large American network", a large newspaper chain, two radio networks and a TV network.
From apps to agency
Vericorder is known for a number of apps for recording and editing video and audio, with the Voddio iPhone app the one that the company is now focussing on (it is a previous 'app of the week for journalists').
Symons said that the team is currently working on an Android app a new iOS app for simple uploading and for monitoring FindStringers.
The apps are "designed by reporters for reporters", said Symons, who until 2009 was a reporter and investigative journalist at Canadian broadcaster CBC.
And while Symons and colleagues at Vericorder continue to focus on Voddio and the new apps, the business is expanding further into content, with the FindStringers service and the newsroom management system.
"We wanted to be in the content business not just the software business," Symons explained.
- Disclaimer: As stated above, Journalism.co.uk is partnering with FindStringers, offering a free premium account to freelancers who join our freelance journalist directory, which costs £50 a year