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.