News events as varied as the commercial jet landing in the Hudson River and the uprisings in Egypt have demonstrated that people armed with cellphones — not professional reporters — are often the first source of breaking news, uploading Twitter posts, photos and video to the Web. But the result can leave people drowning in too much information.
A Web start-up named Storify, which opens to the public Monday, aims to help journalists and others collect and filter all this information.
Using the Storify Web site, people can find and piece together publicly available content from Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, YouTube and other sites. They can also add text and embed the resulting collages of content on their own sites. During a private test period, reporters from The Washington Post, NPR, PBS and other outlets used the service.
Storify, based in San Francisco, is one of several Web start-ups — including Storyful,Tumblr and Color — that are developing ways to help journalists and others sift through the explosion of online content and publish the most relevant information. Investors are also betting there is a market for filtering the social Web for high-quality posts. Khosla Ventures has invested $2 million in Storify.
Even though journalists may not be the first on the scene, they select the most reliable sources, digest loads of information and provide context for events, said Burt Herman, a founder of Storify and a longtime Associated Press reporter.
“We have so many real-time streams now, we’re all drowning,” Mr. Herman said. “So the idea of Storify is to pick out the most important pieces, amplify them and give them context.”