NewsiT, a mobile ‘crowd-reporting’ platform based in Washington, D.C., has raised $500,000 in seed funding from individual investors who include Sandra Kresch, managing director or of Golden Seeds, and Chrisman Iribe, the CFO of Scaleform and former president and COO of PG&E.
The company, founded by former journalist Melinda Wittstock in 2010, invites users to collaborate by sharing images, audio, and text around “assignments” that they can join, based on common interests, as well as their location.
NewsiT.net, a mobile crowd-reporting platform that engages and rewards people for creating and sharing news, announced today that it has closed on $500k in seed funding and will launch its iPhone app at South by Southwest Interactive.
NewsiT harnesses the power of the ‘crowd’ to create, collaborate and share news and information on smart-phones, the web and tablets. Anyone can join assignments based on common interests and location, and earn points, badges and rewards for contributing content, sharing and inviting friends to join assignments. NewsiT contributors upload text, images, audio and video to the platform to report their stories.
Professional journalists, aided by sophisticated “big data” algorithms, focus assignments and work with contributors to quickly craft and publish accurate, high quality news. Stories are published on NewsiT.net and its apps and syndicated across media content partner sites.
NewsiT’s unique approach to editing and curating quality, personally-relevant and user-generated content:
· Gives people a voice – a forum to report on the stories that matter most to them and a chance to share their unique perspectives. The social and gaming aspects make it a fun and rewarding experience.
· Enables advertisers to engage influencers in their target markets around specific content and locations, and in a 100% brand safe environment.
· Provides media companies with high-quality, low-cost content and access to NewsiT’s community of engaged contributors.
“News is social. It’s a conversation. The more participants, the more perspectives, expertise, and eye-witness accounts, the better the quality, breadth and relevance of the reporting,” says Founder and CEO Melinda Wittstock. “We empower people to create, collaborate and share the news stories that matter most to them, their friends and community. And our unique editorial processes assure quality, unprecedented efficiencies and scalability.”
Serial entrepreneur, award-winning journalist and executive Melinda Wittstock founded NewsiT in 2010 and is its CEO. Melinda has 25 years of experience across TV, radio, print journalism and social media, having worked for the Times of London, BBC Television, Guardian, Observer, ABC News, National Public Radio and MSNBC/CNBC during her career. In 2002 Melinda founded and built Capitol News Connection to serve more than 200 public radio stations, local TV outlets and newspapers with award-winning localized coverage of Congress and www.askyourlawmaker.com (now part of NewsiT LLC).
NewsiT investors include Sandra D. Kresch, the President of PSD International and Managing Director of Golden Seeds, and P. Chrisman Iribe, the CFO of Scaleform Corporation and former President and COO of PG&E.
“NewsiT is the most exciting new service I’ve seen in a 35 year career in the media,” says Sandra D. Kresch. It builds on the power of a highly motivated, attractive demographic to transform the news business with benefits to consumers, media and advertisers. I’m thrilled to be a part of making it a reality.”
P. Chrisman Eribe adds: “Having helped a small software startup grow to be a substantial player in the middleware segment of the video game industry, I am thrilled to be a major supporter of NewsiT.”
NewsiT is also pleased to announce that it has been selected as a SxSW HATCH finalist this year and will be one of 15 companies presenting on March 11 at the pitch competition “for tech startups with revolutionary ideas.”
Even before the launch of its iPhone app, NewsiT demonstrated the effectiveness of its beta platform by producing crowd-reported stories on topics ranging from the high cost of college textbooks to a rally by veterans supporting presidential candidate Ron Paul. Scores of contributors have uploaded information, photos and video for those and other stories using the NewsiT web site. South by Southwest participants will be able to use NewsiT’s app to cover both the event and issues, ranging from online privacy and social media’s role in the 2012 Presidential elections to the best and most annoying marketing efforts by exhibiting companies.
NewsiT is a mobile crowd-reporting platform that lets you create and share the news you want, wherever you are. NewsiT is social, collaborative, fun and rewarding. NewsiT rewards badges and points for participating and inviting friends to join assignments – and for the quality, accuracy and impact of contributions. People also win points for reading, listening, watching, commenting and sharing. NewsiT is a trustworthy source of quality and personally relevant news: Its editing process combines algorithms and award-winning journalists to ensure what you read or watch is accurate and of the highest quality.
NewsiT won the WeMedia Pitchit! Challenge in 2010; judges called it “the future of news’. NewsiT is also a winner of New York’s UltraLight Startups, the Venture Association of New Jersey’s ‘Elevator Pitch Gold Medal’, presented at the Paley Center for Media’s ‘Next Big Thing’ and is a Springboard Venture Forum and Start Up America company.