The site is a community based news site where anyone can write about anything that interests them. It also has a wiki-style component so people can add additional information to stories or correct facts as new info comes to light. And it has commenting, of course. They also do a lot of reporting through curating where they link out to great info written elsewhere. And their definition of “reporting” isn’t limited to writing. They bring together Twitters, blogging, direct writing on the site, photos – direct, from Flickr, etc – video embedded from other sites or streamed directly to their site through ShoZu or (soon) Qik.
Here is an example story from Barack Obama’s rally in St Paul, MN earlier this week:
The story includes a headline, screen grabs of how newspapers covered the story, photos, and comments. Check out now many people contributed to that one story (listed on right column).
Some of the photos in that story came from me. I don’t proactively use the site, but occasionally receive a message through Flickr telling me that I’ve taken a photo that is relevant to a story on their site. With a couple clicks, I can contribute a photo or group of photos to the story.
Rather than sending someone to the event, they (and the NowPublic community) seek out people who were there and tap into their perspectives.
It’s a very different way of reporting news where a story is published and evolves over time as more information about the newsworthy event becomes available. Content isn’t held for a print cycle, but immediately goes live.
There are some advantages to giving the news a fresh look. For example, NowPublic seems to be embracing the benefits of SEO over locking away content after a fixed amount of time. As a result, the site has more than four times more pages indexed by Google than the Minneapolis StarTribune (~2 million vs 500,000 as of this writing).