Cont3nt. Be the News.

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When D.C. comes to mind, most people choose to think of the federal government, lobbyists, NGO’s, and mediocre sports franchises. In spite of the perception most might have though, the nation’s capital is also home to a growing startup scene, with a few new businesses looking poised to break onto the global stage.

One of my favorites happens to be Cont3nt.com, a media distribution platform connecting freelance journalists to some of the world’s most prominent news outlets.

Tell Me More

In an age where the demand for up to date coverage of major events is endless, and competition to be the first to any breaking story around the world puts pressure on major news providers to expand their horizons, Cont3nt is looking to fill the void by offering both independent journalists, and established firms the opportunity to connect through the site, exchanging valuable information.

Led by CEO Anton Gelman, who was featured in BisNow’s ’30 under 40′ segment, the company was founded in 2011, and has been growing ever since.

The accolades don’t stop with its leadership itself either. The site won Startup America’s National Pitch competition in 2012, along with being listed as in the top five of the Knight Foundation’s 2012 News Challenge.

The Concept

Cont3nt calls itself an “ebay for breaking news”, and once you become accustomed to the system it’s easy to see why.

The premise of the firm is to serve as a market for photo, and video journalism. Freelancers can sign up (for free initially), post their stories on the site, and sell them to news outlets around the world. The site offers assistance with licensing, and provides a channel for mass distribution. Once you’ve uploaded your photo or video, you can send it directly to prominent news agencies, which in turn will purchase the content, meaning profit for the individual, and real time updates for a corporation constantly in need of them.

As the content a user posts grows, so should their reach. Cont3nt has over 5,000 organizations utilizing its service in more than twenty countries. Needless to say, it also offers freelancers the opportunity to efficiently network with some of the world’s leading news makers.

There are numerous perks for the buyers (i.e. the media organizations) as well. Besides the invaluable up to date information they receive, it also allows corporations to more efficiently manage their affiliates, easing the search process, and opening the market to a substantial pool of information they can choose from (over 30,000 contributors).

Why Does It Matter?

In the age of “Twitter revolutions”, news is spread at the click of a button. The world today is gripped by a number of major stories consumers are looking to be kept up to date on. With Cont3nt, whether you’re on the front line in Syria, at the ballot box in Glasgow, or part of a demonstration in Bangkok, there’s a previously unimaginable method of letting the world’s news makers know exactly what’s going on.

The internet, and social media have revolutionized the way people inform themselves, and have given countless individuals the ability to be on the edge of breaking stories. The essence of the service as I see it is the opportunity it provides any passionate freelance journalist (or even anyone with an iPhone) to chase their dream, and contribute to the information the rest of us consume on a daily basis.

Cont3nt is a tool both freelancers, and company’s can’t afford not to use. Many major outlets already have their own integrated platforms for covering events first hand, but this service is unique in its organizational advantage. It’s easy to use for both sides of the spectrum, and significantly limits the length either has to go to in order to buy or sell the content they need.

D.C. is on the rise, who knew?

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