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!!

UK’s Guardian FTW

I’ve recently been really interested in reading The Guardian.  It has some interesting articles on its home page that would rarely, if ever, make it to US newspapers.  Also, the site is more visually enthralling and less intimidating than the New York Times.  Just skimming through some stories I found some amazing ledes.  However, several of their pieces could technically fall under “comment” or “opinion”, but nothing a little tweaking couldn’t solve (a few less adjectives that reveal opinions).  One story I read under “comment” addressed the media’s display of crime in England.  It addressed some critical issues with this specific media coverage and with the manipulation of data, statistics and studies.

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Media Cloud

The Berkman Center for Internet & Societ at Harvard launched a new system/application in March that follows media trends.  Media Cloud takes articles–each day–from an astounding amount of news media and blogs and stores the information in a database.  Users can then visit the Media Cloud website and chart this data.  While this is not a finished product, it is an interesting and innovative way to study media.  Journalists, communication researchers, news enthusiasts and average Joes are able to explore media trends easily without having to actually gather the data.  The Berkman Center has done this for us, taking out a time-consumng step and allowing us to focus on the content.  This is valuable because we can, in turn, improve the quality of journalism.  Hopefully, ethics committees and news media will utilize Media Cloud to optimize journalism.

I encourage you to check out Media Cloud yourself, but below is some interesting information.


CNN:  United States, Washington, California

Fox News:  New York, Florida, Texas

MSNBC:  Afghanistan, Taliban, Mexico

The New York Times:  United States, Washington, California

The Washington Post:  Virginia, United States, New York

The Wall Street Journal:  New York, China, Washington

I find it interesting that CNN and The New York Times (both considerably left-sided) had identical Top 3.

Missing the Mark on New Media

As a journalist, something I continually worry about is the future of news media.  Something we’ve all heard about is the death of newspapers, so I don’t need to remind you that new technologies are taking the place of these newspapers.  I recently read an op-ed piece in the New York Times that touched on the fear the public has of new media.

“But such panics often fail basic reality checks. When comic books were accused of turning juveniles into delinquents in the 1950s, crime was falling to record lows, just as the denunciations of video games in the 1990s coincided with the great American crime decline. The decades of television, transistor radios and rock videos were also decades in which I.Q. scores rose continuously.”

While the article was interesting and raised a variety of thought-provoking points, I feel like it missed the mark in some ways.  There is definitely fear in relation to new media, but I believe this fear lies within newspapers and other news companies.  And if not…it should.  Like I mentioned in a previous post, How should we “reinvent” media?, we MUST take big steps toward making media consumption desirable.  But we also CANNOT sacrifice the quality of the news.  While keeping this in mind, I would also like to add that it is almost certain than media consumers may be reluctant to accept this media at first, but we can’t shy away from these advancements.

New media is feared.  It always has been and always will be.  Suck it up.  Work for success.  Move forward.  Save the news.

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Free Mortgages!! Come on people.

I read an article in the NYT that caught my eye recently.  As a society, we find it difficult to accept responsibility for anything.  However, this article is doing nothing but encouraging that immature behavior.  The article, entitled Owners Stop Paying Mortgages, and Stop Fretting, is about homeowners who cannot afford to pay their mortgages so they simply do not.  Instead they indulge on restaurants and trips.  This story places all of the blame on banks and ridiculous loans.  While they are partially responsible, we are ultimately responsible for ourselves.  If we see that we cannot afford something, then we need to make the conscious decision to pass on the loan or purchase.  While the article briefly explores the pitfalls of these homeowners, the lead and the nut graf are enough to make wealthy individuals stop paying their mortgages.

“For Alex Pemberton and Susan Reboyras, foreclosure is becoming a way of life — something they did not want but are in no hurry to get out of.

Foreclosure has allowed them to stabilize the family business. Go to Outback occasionally for a steak. Take their gas-guzzling airboat out for the weekend. Visit the Hard Rock Casino.”

I’m disappointed in the NYT for making this, not paying mortgages, a thought in the heads of the American people.

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How should we “reinvent” media?

Alright President Obama, I’ve been with you so far.  But Obama’s FTC plan to reinvent America’s new media is obnoxious.  Government should not be involved with the news media.  Period.  The press is the unofficial fourth branch of government.  Its responsiblity is to be a watch dog for the public, not incorporate the political agenda of rich, pretentious Senators.  If we want to “reinvent” journalism we need to look to new technology.  We need to impliment new, creative ideas to enthrall a younger audience and keep newspapers alive.  Check out the NYT iPad App.  This is a perfect example of growth.

The Highs and Lows of Journalism

Another hot issue, marijuana usage and legalization, was also spotlighted in two newspapers this weekend.  Two very similar stories were written, but with very different headlines.

Workers at 3 medical marijuana businesses in Oakland unionize

Pot-club workers in Oakland are first to unionize

The first headline, written by the Los Angeles Times, presents no obvious bias or agenda.  However, the second headline, written by USA Today, chooses to use “pot” over “marijuana.”  Is it just me or does “pot” inherently have a negative connotation?

Now on an optimistic note read this article by David Sanger of the New York Times.  It’s an incredibly well-written and fascinating piece.

Amazing nut graf, vivid language, fabulous graphics.  Just an awesome piece!