NowThis News Pioneers the Instagram Interview

Facebook’s addition of video to the photo sharing app Instagram in August wasn’t just a competitive swipe at Vine. It’s changing the way one original reporting site is presenting the news.

NowThis News, which claims to be the first and only mobile and social original news network, is making Vine and Instagram central to its news gathering efforts that are targeted at tech savvy millennialls.

Note the emphasis on original reporting. NowThisNews was founded by two former Huffington Post backers, Kenneth Lerer and Eric Hippeau. While HuffPo often gets knocked for retreading news from other sites, NowThisNews is serious about original reporting.

The burgeoning site hired a 12-year ABC News veteran Ed O’Keefe as the editor in chief, and recently hired two reporters for the Washington, D.C., bureau.

NowThis News is the first and only mobile and social network, according to O’Keefe. “We are built to do original news content on both our mobile platforms, iOS and Android, and natively on social networks. What Netflix is to entertainment, NowThisNews is to news.”

The site is drawing attention with some news “firsts.” Today, O’Keefe says his site marked the inaugural Instagram interview–or “Instaview”–with a U.S. politician, Newark, NJ, mayor and U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker. A question a day will be asked of Booker, himself a social media phenom and heavy Twitter user.  Look for new responses around 8 p.m. ET every night this week.

NowThisNews is a multi-platform effort, that hopes to exploit its web site as well.  Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), addressed the five-year anniversary of the financial collapse today. And Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) recently discussed his position on Syria.

NowThis News is the first and only mobile and social network, according to O’Keefe. “We are built to do original news content on both our mobile platforms, iOS and Android, and natively on social networks. What Netflix is to entertainment, NowThis News is to news.”

It’s an interesting play, especially for news junkies, and it will be fun to see how it plays out.  Social media channels are likely to experience growth primarily through mobile, so NowThis News checks that box. News sites are increasingly looking to mobile and video to draw in younger viewers from the critical 18-54 demographic.  Original reporting should help the site stand out; time will tell how competitive the site will be with the HuffPo’s to the network news sites.

Readers, would you participate in an Instagram interview?

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