"What we are doing has never been done. There's no guide book, style book or road map."
Written for the MGP by Kyrsten Skulborstad at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, May 2009
In an era dominated by global misunderstanding, increasing cross-cultural tensions and news media bias, where can you go to find out what's really happening? Jim Spencer and the Media Convergence Group have provided one answer: Newsy.com - the news with more views.
"We are in an increasingly globalized, networked, interconnected world where access to multi-perspective news is a requirement of being an informed, global citizen," Spencer said.
His vision is to see people making more informed decisions based on diverse news views, and Spencer has both the passion and credentials to see this vision into existence.
An honors alum of the Missouri School of Journalism's graduate program and corporate pioneer at Ask Jeeves (Ask.com), America Online (AOL) and director of strategic partnerships at NBC for MSNBC.com, Spencer is funneling insight from his experiences into establishing a new way of telling global news stories.
"What we are doing has never been done," Spencer said. "There's no guide book, style book or road map."
In 2 – 3 minute online video segments, Spencer and his team at Newsy.com share news stories using a variety of perspectives. According to the company's website, "Newsy.com takes a step back to show how the world's news organizations are reporting a story. You'll find CNN right next to Al Jazeera, the BBC right next to ABC." These "video snapshots" also cover what the major newspapers, magazines and top blogs from around the world are discussing. According to Spencer, this will spark participation and discussion of global issues amongst citizens from around the world.
In doing this, Newsy.com sets itself apart from the way traditional news media organizations cover global issues. The company's goal is to provide immediate, accurate news analysis so viewers can form their own opinions.
Back to Missouri
To establish Newsy.com, Spencer and his management team returned to Columbia, Missouri to partner with the Missouri School of Journalism, The Reynolds Journalism Institute and the University of Missouri. This creates what Spencer calls, "a mutually beneficial organization." He believes the bright, young minds of students will help innovate Newsy.com, while also giving students a real-world startup company experience.
"The thing I'm most proud of are the students," Spencer said. "...The energy, enthusiasm, creativity and passion is inspiring. This is one of the cool things about starting a company."
Newsy.com's initial funding was primarily raised in Missouri from both public and private investors. It is a dual revenue stream company supported by online video advertising and content licensing fees.
Spencer is particularly optimistic about the demand for web-based video and the positive forecasts for online video advertising saying, "Online video is the fastest adaptation of technology I've ever seen."
With the launch of the beta version of its Website, Newsy.com aims to present a streamlined, unique presentation of global issues by continuing to examine itself and innovate its product.