Omidyar news venture pushes into 'social journalism'
Internet entrepreneur Pierre Omidyar's fledgling news venture launched an online project Monday led by a journalist known for using Twitter as a reporting tool.
First Look Media's new site Reported.ly is headed by Andy Carvin, who gained prominence in 2011 by tweeting real-time bulletins about turmoil in the Middle East.
"We want to bring global news directly to you through social media — and hope you'll become a part of our online community," Carvin said in a blog post.
The new project will use a team of professional journalists to sift through social media to deliver important global news, using the same social platforms.
The site will provide "the opening gambit of a public conversation that we hope will help us sort fact from fiction," said Carvin, who called the effort "a new social journalism project."
"We're journalists and storytellers —not gurus, rock stars or self-styled experts," he said.
"We don't have all the answers and won't pretend that we do. We embrace listening over lecturing."
The new effort is the latest by Omidyar—the founder of eBay as well as a philanthropic investment firm—who has pledged to invest $250 million to provide innovative solutions for the news media.
It comes on top of "The Intercept," an investigative news website led by Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, who helped bring leaker Edward Snowden's NSA revelations to public view.
Carvin, who previously worked for National Public Radio, said Reported.ly will have full editorial independence.
"We take orders from no-one— period," he said.
"Our team alone will determine what we cover and what we don't. Funders, sponsors, corporate management and other institutional influencers will have no say in our editorial decision-making.
"Having said that, we hope that you, our community, will pitch story ideas to us.. we'll listen to your ideas and take them seriously."
The team will use social media networks including Twitter, Facebook and Reddit to both find important news stories and then bring them to readers.
The project also includes Malachy Browne of the social news site Storyful, radio host Wendy Carrillo and freelance journalist and activist Asteris Masouras.
Omidyar, who created First Look Media last year, recently scrapped a plan to create a new digital magazine on politics and culture led by former Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi.
Omidyar has pledged to invest some $250 million in the project to "empower" journalists and help them "pursue the truth."
First Look Media was established as a non-profit journalism entity, and Omidyar also plans a for-profit company to develop new media technology.
Carvin became known for using Twitter during the Arab Spring uprisings, both as a newsgathering tool and platform.
"I'm giving people the choice," Carvin said in a 2011 interview with AFP.
"Mainly what I'm trying to do is have my Twitter feed essentially become an archive of the horrors of war and allow people to bear witness if they feel comfortable doing so."
© 2014 AFP