While professional news organizations have long used amateur-produced video (remember Abraham Zapruder’s film of the JFK assassination?), NBC News today joins the ranks of news providers who are beginning to embrace it as a first resort instead of a last. The company today said that it bought user video service start-up Stringwire — mostly, it seems, to land its founder, Phil Groman. He’ll be Product Lead based at NBC News Digital Group’s San Francisco office. “For breaking news and stories that have a real-time visual component, Stringwire’s services provide the ability to recruit and direct contributors based on geographical location through Twitter, and to instantly access live footage,” NBC says in a release. “Aside from Groman’s use of Stringwire during Hurricane Sandy and the Kenyan elections, NBC News will be the first media organization to use the technology for live event coverage.” The organization apparently does not fear that the videos it receives might be staged, or served up to to advance a hidden agenda. Last week the BBC began to put warnings on all of the user-generated video it airs after a BBC Trust report found that it had rarely labeled amateur videos shown in its coverage of 2011’s Arab Spring. (Warnings often say that the video can’t be independently verified but that it’s believed to be accurate.) NBC News Chief Digital Officer Vivian Schiller says that Stringwire offers “immediate value to our on-air and digital businesses. Long-term, we think there is great commercial potential.”
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