Likewise, Newsmodo rejects the cheaper-is-better, Mechanical-Turk-style auction model for matching buyers and sellers. “We’re not a reverse bidding war for work opportunities,” he said, “and that’s reflected in our clients—they’re all the world’s best news producers and broadcasters.”

One challenge that this type of service could face is the temptation for buyers and sellers to take their transactions offline after the initial connection, in order to cut out the middle man. Ebeli said Newsmodo has addressed this by including language about just that in the sign-up process. Buyers and sellers must communicate via chat windows and messages within the site itself: no external e-mailing or calling allowed. So, after agreeing to the typical Terms of Service, freelancers must also read and check off this box before their profiles can go live:

As Ebeli put it, “We’re not a dating service.”

Still, what would seem to be conditions for Newsmodo’s success—newsrooms forced to scale down their staff while wanting to maintain the same amount of coverage, professional journalists either choosing the freelance life or having it chosen for them—are, unfortunately, only going to increase.

Ebeli noted that this service could be especially useful for magazines and newspapers that want to find travel tips and lifestyle pieces from far-flung places. With a platform like Newsmodo, it will be much easier and cheaper for a media company to find a writer or photographer who’s already living across the world than to pay to send someone there.
Another interesting development that’s happened since Newsmodo launched is that media organizations have started to use the platform to syndicate their content to others across the world: the buyers have become sellers of their own.

“That wasn’t something that we’d expected to transpire so soon after launching, but in the past week we’ve had a French publication submit over 200 stories from the Cannes film festival: images, videos, interviews, written reviews, previews, the lot,” said Ebeli. “They think, ‘What’s the point of this only having the lifespan of one publication? Let’s see if we can monetize this by selling it to other publishers in other parts of the world.’”

Ebeli said that he has already met with 140 news outlets about doing business, and countless professional journalists’ organizations to get their endorsement. And the world tour continues: when he was finished in New York, the next stop was back to London and Melbourne, then on to Qatar and Bangkok.

 

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Lauren Kirchner is a freelance writer covering digital security for CJR. Find her on Twitter at @lkirchner