"I seeded it initially by reaching out to 100 friends around the world, and offering $50 to whomever recruited the most writers in one month. That started the whole thing. We were truly bootstrapped. Today we have over 4,000 professional and amateur reporters."
Sterne talking with the MGP, April 2009
Written for the MGP by Philip Michael Rapisardo, student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, April 2009
Rachel Sterne attended New York University and received a Bachelor's degree in History and French. Before founding Groundreport, Rachel worked as a business developer for the P2P platform LimeWire and held a number of internships, including one as a political intern for the US Mission to the United Nations.
It was her work at the United Nations that inspired her to create Groundreport. As Rachel put it, she "was struck by the great disparity between what is really going on in the world, and what people are aware of." Rachel believes that the traditional news media outlets are flawed, saying that television news has become a category of entertainment for public consumption, while print journalism has rejected the potential of revolutionary digital technologies. In an attempt to take from the best of television and print while incorporating new technologies, she created the concept of Groundreport.
Using technology she discovered while working for LimeWire, Rachel developed a digital news outlet where anyone can publish articles, videos, and photos. According to Rachel, "GroundReport democratizes the media. It empowers everyone to participate in the news-gathering, production and dissemination process." On Groundreport, the community rates the best stories to determine what will be featured on the front page. When a reporter posts content, they then make a portion of the ad revenue based on their traffic.
"I launched GroundReport to help people harness their civic agency to change the world, and that remains my motivation to this day," Rachel said.
Once Groundreport launched in 2006, Rachel began gathering reporters. "I seeded it initially by reaching out to 100 friends around the world, and offering $50 to whomever recruited the most writers in one month. That started the whole thing."
Today, Groundreport has over 4,000 professional and amateur reporters.
Rachel says risks and rewards go hand-in-hand. "Financially, you do take a hit in income and security, but the sacrifice is with the knowledge that you will come out the other side with a valuable asset and as a higher-potential individual. Personally, there is the most sacrifice, as you relegate social and personal responsibilities to the background in favor of the company. I'm thankful to have a very supportive network around me."
A June 2009 profile of Sterne on The New York Review of Ideas wiki:
The March 2007 press release announcing the launch of the GroundReport.com website.