Media meets the iPad

My boyfriend recently received and iPad for his birthday so we were exploring some of the news/journalism apps available.  All of the apps listed below are free, which is a wonderful step in diminshing the destructive paywall in media.

I’ve already talked about the New York Times and how impressed I am with theirs.  I have to say that I prefer it to their online edition.  It is much easier to navigate, more visually appealing and significantly less overhwhelming.

BBC News has produced my second favorite app.  Categories are lined up on the side of the article (horizontal) or at the top of the article (vertical).  You can scroll through the categories to see top stories with photos.  I definitely enjoy this format as an avid news reader.  However, there is an abundance of information that may be overwhelming for some.  Also, reading articles horizontally isn’t exactly convenient, because you are forced to scroll down more often.  However, it is a breeze if you hold your iPad vertically.

The Wall Street Journal for iPad is decent, but not great.  There is a lot of downloading with the app itself, which is a little annoying.  However, the articles are easy to read and navigate.  And it is free!!  Well kind of.  To have access to all of the content you have to pay.  No real surprise there with the Wall Street Journal.

The Associated Press has a really interesting presentation that is not typical of a news organization.  The design is almost like that of a scrapbook with headlines, photos and videos scattered across the app.  However, it is slightly more complicated to navigate.  This would be something you would definitely have to adjust to.  Hopefully they will adjust their app to make it more user-friendly.

The Guardian has not created an official iPad App for news, however, their Eyewitness App is absolutely amazing!!  It offers vivid full-screen photographs with optional captions and tips in the corner.  Hopefully, they will produce a full app in the future.

Finally, the Washington Post has not produced any apps for the iPad.

Definitely some great steps overall for new media!!

CNN Drops AP

CNN finally dropped the AP! I think we all saw this coming in 2009 when CNN Radio and both dropped all AP content.  Also, the beginning of CNN Wire also signaled the end of the relationship between these news organizations.  I’m excited to see what CNN does with its wire service and if they step up to the plate.  I

have nothing against the AP…honestly.  While their writing is a little dry, they do provide valuable stories to news organizations.  When a newspaper needs to fill space in an edition or a story needs to be covered, but there are not enough writers, the AP is there.  However, I do think CNN is taking a proactive step in improving their services and merchandising on their writing and reporting.  The AP has made a huge impact on news today and I can’t wait to see if CNN does the same.

Check out the memo to CNN Staff from CNN Worldwide Chief Jim Walton.

We are taking an important next step in the content-ownership process we began in 2007 to more fully leverage CNN’s global newsgathering investments. Starting today, CNN newsgathering will be the primary source of all content for all of our platforms and services. We will no longer use AP materials or services. The content we offer will be distinctive, compelling and, I am proud to say, our own.

Beyond the obvious business reasons for this operating shift-the content we spend our money to create should be the content we present, and less reliance on outside sources will mean more to invest in our organization-there are other important motivations. CNN-exclusive content will further differentiate our platforms in the media marketplace. It will provide consumers with the unique news and information experience they expect from CNN. And it will make us more creative, resourceful and collaborative journalists and news professionals.

To support this new model, we are expanding the CNN Wires team and embedding positions with desks and bureaus to speed information to air. Among continuing infrastructure improvements to further our distinctive storytelling, we’re launching CNN Share to aggregate editorial content and facilitate easy distribution and sharing across platforms; launching a new alert system for breaking news; creating newsgathering opportunities across all dayparts; and building tools to expand information gathering from social media and emerging sources.

Our global broadcast affiliates will be key partners in this effort. Creating more original content will enhance our service to them and build stronger working relationships going forward. Additionally, we are entering into an arrangement with Reuters to supplement breaking news coverage and we have the Spanish-language wire service EFE available in-house.

This effort is the result of creative thinking, partnership and hard work by colleagues from across CNN guided by the same goal: to further strengthen CNN’s leadership position and grow our business. I am grateful to them for bringing us to this point, and to each of you for taking it from here. By embracing this new way of working, we are demonstrating our commitment to the future of CNN.

And of course the AP covered this story as well–both humorous and admirable.

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AP & Audience

As I’m sure you are all aware, the Associated Press is a major contributor to newspapers across the world from local weeklies to metropolitan dailies.  It has grown significantly since its establishment in 1846.  The stories that the AP publishes are now republished by almost 2,000 newspapers.  When I think of unbiased, non-targeted journalism I think of the AP.  However, the stories produced by the AP are not the most captivating pieces within a newspaper or on a broadcast.  Since the AP has no specific audience or readership, they have no one to write for and everyone to write for.  With this idea in mind, I want to pose a question.  To achieve unbiased journalism are we forced to create dry, bland stories?  Are all interesting stories sensationalized and plagued with underlying bias?  Now I understand that those questions are extreme and do not apply to all situations, but it is something to think about.  Shouldn’t there be some way to report, write and publish impartial stories that captivate an audience?

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Repetitious Journalism

Among our many responsibilities as journalists, we must make the news easy and accessible for our readers.

The news that we see most often is repetitive because the same stories are found on across news sites, stations, papers and aggregators.  Also, a vat of information can be found on the home pages of websites and the front pages of newspapers.  Information is scrolling across the bottom of a screen while a well-groomed anchor is discussing a completely separate issue.  We are overwhelmed by news, but do we even care?  There is so much to consume and to understand that instead of sifting through the muck we choose to ignore it all.

Not only is there too much information to decipher, most of this information is repetitive.  We see the same sources being used for stories across all media along with canned press releases and AP articles.

The Editorialiste explains this phenomena best in his most recent post.

“But I believe there is too much recycling of information going on — so much so that the original source doesn’t get enough credit, and rebloggers get just enough to continue doing it endlessly.”

Coverage of Sarah Palin’s ridiculous attempts to gain attention is a perfect example of this repetitious journalistic style.  Stories about Palin’s “fake feminism”, “Drill, Baby, Drill” and the Alaska Senate controversy can be found everywhere from CNN to True/Slant.

Someone, please save us from the Palin media cicus.