news apps

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How to build a news apps team (Hint: if you don’t have a lot of money, settle for scrappy)

It isn’t really a question of whether you need a news apps team or not. The question for most newsrooms is what kind of news apps team can you afford? And then, how can you keep them as long as possible, given your scarce resources?

Programmers and developers with journalistic inclinations are in high demand. They command good salaries and they tend to want to live in places where there is a vibrant tech industry.

That means big newsrooms with big budgets in big cities have a distinct advantage. So smaller newsrooms with smaller budgets must be realistic and strategic.

Emily Ramshaw, editor of the Texas Tribune, and Jonathan Keegan, director of interactive graphics at the Wall Street Journal, offered up tips and strategies this past weekend at ONA14 for building the best news apps team possible. Read more

iPhone Apps

App use dominates mobile browser use, but what does that mean for news content?

The latest report from Flurry shows mobile users are spending the vast majority of their time with mobile apps, not with mobile Web browsers. So far in 2014, iOS and Android users have spent 86 percent of time with their devices using apps, up from 80 percent in 2013. Read more

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Eric Migicovsky

PoynterVision: Consuming news on wearables

Jeff Sonderman, deputy director of American Press Institute, shares his vision of how we might consume news on such wearables as watches:

For more on the news impact of wearables, watch the complete Webinar replay of Preparing Journalism for the Age of Wearable Devices at Poynter NewsU. Use the promo code 13POYNTER100WEAR to get unlimited free access to the on-demand replay.

Related: PoynterVision: Watch out for wearables Read more

TV Arrested Development

How NPR made its ‘Arrested Development’ graphic: ‘We like to build useful stuff’

Adam Cole is not an “Arrested Development” superfan: “I have friends who are much more into it than I am,” the NPR reporter said in a phone interview. But Cole took a scientist’s eye to the cult television series, which will be resurrected Sunday after its 2006 cancellation.

Cole’s employer, NPR, presented his data Friday in an insanely complex news app called “Previously, on Arrested Development.” The app lets you delve into, say, how many times Tobias “giggles ambitiously,” or do a deep dive into Buster and missing limbs.

A selection from the graphic.

Cole originally envisioned a static graphic, saying that “I didn’t think I would bring this to work. I thought it would be a fun thing.” But he added that when Netflix announced it would revive the series, “I was like, ‘Wow, this is as good a peg as I’m ever gonna get.’ ” Read more


How the Washington Post made its election-predictor tool

Source | Washington Post

NPR news apps developer Jeremy Bowers discusses in Knight-Mozilla OpenNews’ Source the legwork that went into the Washington Post’s election predictor app.

Bowers worked with the Post’s Ezra Klein and graphics editor Emily Chow to produce the tool, which launched in April 2012 using economic data models from to predict the likelihood of President Obama being re-elected. In the essay, Bowers says the work of political science professors John Sides at George Washington University, Lynn Vavreck at UCLA, and Seth Hill at Yale (now of UC-San Diego) was integral to the process. Read more


ProPublica releases style guide for news apps

News applications editor Scott Klein has written a “ProPublica News Apps Style Guide” that codifies “the typographic and technical best practices” its developers follow.

Much like the AP Stylebook, the News Apps Style Guide helps journalists resolve uncertainty and avoid common mistakes by providing guidance on the most important or often misunderstood points.

Also like the AP Stylebook, the News Apps Style Guide contains an alphabetical list of subjects — from Accuracy to Updates (no “z-” words yet) — with a brief discussion and guidance for each.

Which browsers should your news app be sure to work in? “The current and prior major release of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari on a rolling basis” as well as “the built-in browsers in the latest revision of the iOS and Android [SDK],” and “if earlier releases represent more than 2.5% of our audience, continue to support them.” Read more


Developers explain why they like to work in newsrooms

Daniel Sinker

Of all the high-demand jobs software developers can take these days, why choose to work in a newsroom? Dan Sinker of the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews project got six developers at The New York Times and ProPublica to answer that question on video. Their responses are revealing.

NYT developer Jeremy Ashkenas explained the allure of fast-paced development:

Something happens, you have to respond. What kind of app can you build in the next 12 hours, in the next 24 hours, that’s going to be able to tell a story? That’s a really fun challenge, and that’s something that you don’t have in a lot of programming.

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