As the news market changes almost faster than the news itself, publishers and start-ups are scrambling to find a model that will provide news and make money.
World News on Demand (WNOD), launched March 18, wants to connect international freelancers with news outlets. Billing itself as an “online virtual news agency for freelance media journalists and media outlets worldwide,” the service seeks international journalists with at least three years of experience in broadcast radio, photojournalism, and/or online or newspaper journalism to sign up.
WNOD is registration free and there are no subscriptions to buy or to use the service. Journalists retain the copyright to their work. Recognizing that it isn't the first company to try to harness the power of freelancers around the globe, it hopes to become the best by reaching 100,000 international media outlets and news organizations.
IJNet learned more about it from founder Eugenio Hernandez, a seasoned reporter who has worked for The Associated Press, Al Jazeera, CNN en Español, Telemundo, Televisa and The Voice of America.
IJNet: How many journalists have signed up so far?
Eugenio Hernandez: 45, we're averaging about one or two new freelancers per day.
IJNet: Where have you placed content so far?
EH: We are in diapers content-wise at the moment, but content is increasing day by day. The industry has yet to become familiar with our services and benefits. However, when media outlets worldwide become less narrow-minded to [their] accustomed traditional ways of obtaining media content and experience the benefits that WNOD brings to their operations, they will realize that they not only can buy better versatility of broadcast content via WNOD, but also find a platform where they can sell their own content worldwide and monetize it instead than archiving it on a shelf, losing great potential revenue for their current and future operations.
IJNet: What languages is content offered in?
EH Journalists and media outlets worldwide can upload their content in any language.
IJNet You are a former journalist. Why did you help found WNOD?
EH The media industry needed a tool like World News On Demand. Unfortunately, I have seen many peers lose their jobs in media, me included, and someone had to modify the already worn-out and invented media industry wheel.
Consider that every newscast is almost 75 percent the same and with the same stories everywhere in the world for no other reason than because an editor in a traditional agency decides what is news and what is not based on its daily budget.
[This is] minimizing content options to choose from for news editors and tragically taking away the job of these editors in almost every newsroom across the globe while they continue to be subscribed to traditional news agencies.
IJNet What's the advantage for freelancers?
EH I've seen freelancers/stringers being exploited throughout the years by being paid very little when at times they have risked their lives and put themselves on the line to cover a story. Unfortunately, traditional agencies demand their services at a moment's notice and they get delayed when pay day comes.
These professionals lose the rights to their content for a few dollars when outlets maximize their revenue in great scale for the freelancer's work performed. WNOD is a new model; we believe that a fair market price and remuneration for a job well done are keys to building a trusted, fair-profit collaborative media industry.