The Associated Press is deepening its commitment to surfacing user generated content (UGC) with a six-figure investment in Bambuser, a Stockholm-based company that enables people around to the world to stream or upload videos.
The AP has worked with Bambuser for a few years and entered into a more formal relationship about a year ago, said Fergus Bell, a social media and user generated content editor at the AP. And apparently it has paid off.
"Through our relationship with Bambuser, we've been able to get material no one else has seen," Bell said, citing footage from the ongoing civil war in Syria as an example.
"It's unquestionable that the AP is using much more UGC than it was last year," Bell added, noting that it's partly because of the company's relationship with Bambuser and partly due to the fact that smartphone-enabled citizens are creating more content of their own.
To put things in perspective, Bell said a couple of years ago he was verifying a couple pieces of UGC a week. Today, though, he sifts through it for stories every day.
Still, the AP runs UGC through its own verification process, including having its journalists take a look at the material to make sure it's legitimate, Bell said, and also giving credit where it's due.
The Associated Press put together a video to highlight major stories that incorporated UGC: