Clapperboard video
Credit: Image by openDemocracy on Flickr. Some rights reserved
A crowdsourced video platform which aims to enable newsrooms to source footage from anywhere in the world within an hour beat four other new businesses to win the Startup Alley pitch presentations at News Xchange.

Stringr, currently in beta, allows news outlets to request video of a particular topic or breaking news story.

At the same time, users can upload footage via the app or website, while geolocated iPhone push notifictions alert them to requests for stories happening nearby.

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk after the pitch, chief executive officer and co-founder Lindsay Stewart said: "Our mission is to drive footage from anything and anywhere in 60 minutes."

The idea was born out of a challenge Stewart herself experienced as a freelance producer at ABC News when it came to getting professional-quality footage fast.

"Stringers were sometimes having to drive it in, often not getting paid themselves, so I wanted a streamlined platform," she explained.

Development on Stringr began a year ago, and in July, Stewart and co-founder Brian McNeill left their jobs to pursue it full-time.

stringr
Screenshot from Stringr.com

The platform, which has since received $1 million (£634,515) of angel investment, is currently being used by TV news outlets in the San Diego area of the US, though Stewart and McNeill have plans to expand internationally.

"We think that will allow a lot of additional stories to be told," said McNeill, "at least with video, that can't be told today.

"It really allows your high-end news crews to focus on the key stories that merit investigative research, while leaving the crowdsourced footage to us."

Stringr is a closed platform which outlets pay for with a mix of one-off licensing and subscriptions.

When a news outlet downloads a video, the person that produced it gets paid within 24 hours.

"It's important to keep it a closed platform because we believe some video is worth paying for," explained McNeill, "and so some video should be kept behind a wall until a news organisation vets it."

Despite its name, the San Francisco-based platform aims to appeal not only to freelance journalists (or stringers), but to "anyone with an interest in videography who's good at shooting," Stewart said.

"We have freelance journalists who've joined the platform, and we have people all the way down to hobbyists who've joined the platform, and some of them are really great news stringers.

"I think that's where we hold some value is our ability to recruit those people."

"My hope is we aren't putting a load of citizen journalists on the ground, we are keeping journalists sitting there doing the hard work that they're doing and getting the footage they need and not worrying about whether they have the pictures to match their reports."

The Startup Alley closed the first day of the News Xchange conference yesterday.
  • Journalism.co.uk technology editor Abigail Edge is currently reporting from the conference, for updates follow @abigailedge.

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