Mobile apps

Election coverage shows how online, mobile video has grown

On election night, video was everywhere — and not just on television. Dozens of news sites and mobile apps also featured video, and there was no shortage of places to watch the election results roll in without ever having to touch a remote control.

An amazing number of newspapers put on a full-court press of election night video. The Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal (edited segment here), The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times (to name just a few) had wall-to-wall coverage. There were editors and reporters on set, reporters doing live shots, and interviews with experts — many of the trappings of television newscasts. It was an impressive amount of effort.

Some had very polished “talent” on camera.  But too often the journalists in front of the camera weren’t comfortable there — they didn’t look at the camera, didn’t dress for the camera, or had untrained voices that were tough to listen to for stretches of time. Read more


Pew: After email, getting news is the most popular activity on smartphones, tablets

The growing number of tablet owners are developing an increased appetite for news, according to a new study from Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Tablet owners spend more time with news from more sources.

The survey measures how many smartphone and tablet owners use the devices to keep up with news, and how they consume news. One key finding is that after email, getting news is the second most popular activity on mobile devices.

Another key finding: Almost one-third of people who acquire tablets find themselves reading more news from more sources than before.

What they’re reading is also interesting. Almost three-fourths of tablet news readers consumed in-depth news articles at least sometimes, with 19 percent saying they do so daily.

A strong majority of tablet readers also said they read at least two-to-three articles in a sitting, many of which they just came across while browsing headlines. Read more

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One-third of adults under 30 get news on social networks now

For American adults under 30, social media has far surpassed newspapers and has equaled TV as a primary source of daily news, according to a new study of news consumption trends by the Pew Research Center for the People & The Press.

The study found 33 percent of those young adults got news from social networks the day before, while 34 percent watched TV news and just 13 percent read print or digital newspaper content.

Overall, the study says, the major trends driving the growth and change of digital news are social media, as well as the rapid adoption of mobile Internet devices.

The top-level trends in social media news consumption:

  • 19 percent of all Americans got news from a social network like Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn yesterday (up from 9 percent in 2010).
Read more

High Country News raises bar for clever mobile promotions

YouTube | iTunes
High Country News is earning a reputation for nontraditional marketing of its new digital products.

Last December, the nonprofit news magazine about the American West sent an unusually honest press release about its new digital subscription plan and iPhone app. The news release quoted reader feedback that the new product “sucks,” and admission that the publication “turned to highly underpaid coders” to build the iPhone app. But hey, it’s a start.

Now HCN is out with its first iPad app, accompanied by this mockumentary about readers picketing the office with slogans like: “HCN is full of crap; we deserve an iPad app!”

Read more


5 new apps track, fact-check political news as election season intensifies

CNN | ReadWriteWeb

Time to hit the app stores, politics junkies. As the party conventions and fall election season arrive, a bunch of new mobile applications are launching that help users get the latest news, engage in conversation, fact-check claims and inspect the source of advertising.

The Washington Post today released an update to its WP Politics for iPad app, adding a new section called “The Forum” with easily browsable Twitter lists that organize more than 300 relevant accounts into six groups: news outlets, campaigns, partisans, prominent office holders, fact checkers, and jesters (like @ColbertReport and @LOLGOP).

There’s also a “trending” section at the top that highlights the most-retweeted items from each category. The goal, Washington Post director of mobile products Ken Dodelin told me, is to make tweets accessible and relevant to the many people who don’t use Twitter themselves. Read more


5 lessons from developing Settle It!, PolitiFact’s new fact-checking mobile app

For the past few months I’ve been working with PolitiFact founder and editor Bill Adair on a new fact-checking mobile app that just came out today for iPhone and Android.

The Settle It! home screen.

“Settle It! PolitiFact’s Argument Ender” was produced by Poynter and PolitiFact, with a grant from the Knight Foundation. The free app is meant to be a tool for people to quickly find and share fact-checks to set their friends and family straight.

We hope you’ll check out the final product, but we also want to share lessons that might be useful to others developing news apps.

Here are a handful of takeaways.

Start with an open mind and diverse ideas

We started this whole project with just one goal: To build an on-demand fact-checking app. Read more

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Four things for journalists to consider as full New York Times content comes to Flipboard

As of Thursday, New York Times subscribers can access the news organization’s content from within Flipboard, the aggregated magazine app for iPads and smartphones.

That’s news — even if you don’t subscribe to the Times. Here’s why.

This is what New York Times content will look like in Flipboard.

It is the first time Flipboard has fully subsumed the content of any publisher, and it is “the first time that The Times has offered paid subscribers full access to its content off a Times platform.”

But it won’t be the last. The Times says this is only the first step in a new strategy called “NYT Everywhere,” which will put Times content on many third-party platforms.

There are at least four things journalists and publishers should be considering as this transition occurs. Read more


News apps are starting to update content when users change location

Instapaper | | Apple
A trendy new feature is starting to spread in iPhone news apps: Automatic downloading of the latest content based on a user’s location.’s Paperboy feature lets a user designate his home location, and updates the content automatically whenever he leaves home. pioneered the approach last month with a feature nicknamed “Paperboy,” which lets a user set her home location so the app can download the latest stories whenever she heads out. Now Instapaper has incorporated a similar feature that lets readers set up to 10 locations (home, work, gym, etc.) that should trigger the app to download any newly saved articles.

Why is that useful? It ensures a user has the latest content on her device before she gets on a subway, airplane or other places with no connectivity. Read more


Only in ‘Amercia’: Romney app needs copy editing

Charles Apple | Washington Post
Perhaps some of the copy editors losing their newspaper jobs could find new employment with the presidential campaigns. The Romney campaign released a “With Mitt” iPhone app Tuesday that lets users “customize photos with a variety of Mitt-inspired artistic frames, add personalized messages, and then share with your friends.” One of the 14 superimposed photo messages calls for “A Better Amercia.”

Romney app misspelling
What the view from my balcony looks like in “A Better Amercia.”

The Washington Post reports the Romney campaign has submitted a corrected app to Apple for approval. Apple says it usually completes its app review process within five business days, so we may see Amercia-stamped photos floating around for a few more days.

Earlier: Downward “sprial” for Denver Post copy editing? Read more


Publishers can finally sell digital subscriptions on Android devices

Android Developers | Open Signal Maps
Publishers and other app developers can now sell subscriptions with recurring payments through their Android apps. For the past year Android developers could conduct one-time transactions, such as single-issue sales, through in-app purchases. But only now can Android users authorize automatic monthly or annual payments for a subscription.

Apple has offered in-app subscriptions on iOS devices since February 2011. Just like Apple, Google will process subscription payments and take a 30 percent cut.

The change could improve the profitability of developing for Android, which has more users than iOS but has generated less sales revenue. Google says 23 of the 24 top-grossing apps in its market already use in-app billing, and the revenue from in-app purchases exceeds revenue from paid app downloads. Read more

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