Ina Fried

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NBC News Scooping Up Mobile Video Site Stringwire

The notion that anyone with a phone who witnesses news is a potential source for news video has been around for a while.

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 5.51.10 PM

CNN, for example, has long had its iReport app. Twitter itself has become the go-to source for many kinds of widely witnessed breaking news, such as protests and plane crashes.

NBC News is now looking to get into the act, scooping up startup Stringwire. The deal is set to be formally announced on Monday, though the company spilled all the beans to the New York Times for a piece that was posted on Sunday.

“You could get 30 people all feeding video, holding up their smartphones, and then we could look at that,” NBC News digital chief Vivian Schiller told the Times. “We’ll be able to publish and broadcast some of them.”

The deal is more of an “acqhire,” the Times reports, with the developer of Stringwire — Phil Groman — joining NBC News.

Both Schiller and Groman confirmed the deal in separate tweets on Sunday.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik