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Aug. 3, 2010, 1:30 p.m.

Demotix to distribute photos via Publish2’s news wire

Summer’s brought a growth spurt for Publish 2‘s News Exchange. Last week, the cooperative distribution platform announced some big-gun content partners: ProPublica, GlobalPost, Texas Tribune, and Texas Watchdog. And today, it introduced another one: Demotix, the citizen-and-freelance-journalism-driven photography site.

We’re excited to announce that Demotix, the award-winning open photo agency for independent journalists, will begin offering content via Publish2 News Exchange when we launch photo support later this summer. Newspapers and other news organizations will not only benefit from the huge efficiency of sharing photos directly through Publish2 News Exchange, but they will now also benefit from the efficiency of Demotix’s open photo sourcing platform and their presence in the U.S. news market.

The upshot: “With the addition of Demotix to News Exchange, newspapers will also be able to buy photos a la carte for coverage of major news events around the U.S. and around the world.” And “for us at Demotix,” CEO Turi Munthe put it, “this opens a potentially very large segment of the US local market, and the thrill of partnering with a new news organisation that truly shares our beliefs and vision of the future.”

It’s a telling collaboration. Demotix (tagline: “The Street Wire”) lives at the intersection of professional and citizen journalism, offering a wire of user-generated images to mainstream outlets. Revenues are split by Demotix and its journalists: every time an image gets picked up from the Demotix wire, its creator gets a 50-percent share of the revenue. (Hence, another tagline: “News by You.”) And, so far, images captured by the community’s 3,200-plus active reporters (hailing from 190 countries) have appeared on some big-time front pages — The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and Time magazine among them.

(For more background on Demotix, by the way, check out this fantastic overview of the platform, and of its impact on the image marketplace, from the spring issue of our sister publication Nieman Reports.)

The team-up has been in the works for several months, Publish2’s director of news innovation, Ryan Sholin, told me. It’s not only that “we’re totally open to and interested in partnering with anybody and everybody who wants to distribute content across our pipes”; it’s also that Demotix, with its freelanced-content-distribution approach, makes particular sense as a P2 partner. (That’s one reason why, as Sholin pointed out, the Demotix logo was featured on a slide at the News Exchange’s beta launch at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference back in May.)

“I personally think it’s really cool because they focus so heavily on freelancers and almost, really, citizen journalists,” Sholin says of Demotix. “The premise is: ‘You are an independent journalist walking around town, and you see something cool, and take a picture of it — and we will help you sell it to news organizations.’ That flows so cleanly into the vision of what News Exchange can be for freelancers and independent journalists that it was a very natural fit.”

And what Demotix gets from the deal is essentially amplification of its current distribution mechanism: “the opportunity,” Sholin says, “to take the work that’s running through their system and have a much better distribution channel — to go straight into newspapers’ print publishing systems, straight into their FTP folders — without having to do a whole browse-and-download sort of interface.”

The partnership will roll out later this summer, as part of Publish2’s broader expansion into image distribution. The collaborative’s upcoming photo-support platform will make it easier, Sholin says, “for anybody to share photos — for newspapers to share photos, for other content providers to sell photos in the system.” And “Demotix will be one of the content providers in the system at launch.”

POSTED     Aug. 3, 2010, 1:30 p.m.
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