Dubbed the Video Journalism Movement, the founders see the site as an alternative news model that relies on a global network of reporters and an engaged audience of (paying) members. The co-founders stress that it's not citizen journalism, but professional journalists and editorial cartoonists doing their work at behest of viewers with story ideas.
An ethics code calls for fairness, honesty and transparency, but doesn't appear to forbid a third party (say a PR firm) from pitching an idea provided any interests are disclosed.
Recent pitches cover packed homeless shelters in Britain's wealthiest city, Somali pirates, cow waste as alternative energy, an Iraqi family (un)settled in California, and Peru's polluted Rimac River.
Co-founder Thomas Loudon says the idea for the site came to him while covering conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. He said he realized while talking with colleagues two keys things: "many journalists could not do stories they wanted to do because editorial directors in far-off newsrooms believed other events were more important, and that when multiple journalists covered the same topic, they all ended up with entirely different stories."