NowPublic.com snapped up by Examiner.com

Image representing NowPublic as depicted in Cr...Image via CrunchBase

The big news in the citizen journalism space is that Vancouver-based participatory news site NowPublic.com has been sold to the local news network, Examiner.com.

The new owners, Philip Anschutz’s Clarity Media Group, are reported to have paid around $25 million.

NowPublic was started in 2005 by Canadian entrepreneurs Leonard Brody, Michael Tippett and Michael Meyers, and has raised more than $10m in venture capital.

Writing on NowPublic, Tippett said:

This is great news for the company, our readers and all of our contributors. Some of you may know Examiner.com but if you don’t already you’ll be seeing more of them soon. Like NowPublic, they are re-writing the rules about how news gets made. They’ve got thousands of Examiners in cities across the US writing and reporting on everything from nightlife, sports and business to technology news and education issues. This means that there will be some great opportunities for all NowPublicans to get news out to an even larger audience.

The Clarity Media Group runs the Washington D.C. Examiner, The San Francisco Examiner and the Independent newspapers, and owns a US network of local sites at Examiner.com.

According to Rick Blair, CEO of Examiner.com:

Examiner.com is rapidly becoming the solution to the hyperlocal puzzle. In the last year we have created the depth of content consumers and advertisers expect. With the acquisition of NowPublic, we have the technology to further engage our community of over 17 million unique visitors per month and distribute our stories in new and innovative ways.

The sale has been described as a good combo, coming at a time of increased interest in citizen journalism.

Among the technologies that NowPublic has to offer is its real-time mechanism for scanning online conversation called Scan. The tool aggregates, geo-locates, and analyze content from social networks such as Flickr, Youtube and Twitter.

Tris Hussey of M2O Productions in Vancouver described the news as “bittersweet”:

It’s fantastic for the folks at NowPublic. They’ve created something amazing, something tremendously powerful, something new, and something that is helping to reshape how we think about news. They must be proud beyond measure. Of course on the other side of the coin, NP was scooped up by an American company. I hope that given NP and Examiner.com are going to still run independently that NP maintains its base in Vancouver and (I think) a very international/Canadian feel to it.

NowPublic’s Michael Tippett has sought to reassure these concerns by saying the company plans to stay in Vancouver and grow the local office.

(Repost from Newslab.ca)