iPhone Apps for News

I had a great time at USA Today, and what really resonated with me was the message that adaptability and a willingness to learn new technologies, and share that knowledge with others is key to making it in today's media world.  One way we learned that USA Today is trying to adjust to new technology and ways of sharing information is through its iPhone App.

In his presentation Bill showed us the application.  I do not have an iPhone, but a lot of my friends do, and out of everyone from our class who went USA Today, three people raised their hands to say they had an iPhone, so I figured I'd try to learn more about Apps.

I quickly discovered through browsing iTunes' App store, that there are applications for everything, including all types of news.  There is an application for Breaking News (Called Breaking News), there is an application for news about the lottery (called Jackpot! News), and there is even an app called "Easy News" that links users to "nine of the most popular news cites," including ABC News, Associated Press, CNN, Fox News, USA Today, Yahoo!, and MSNBC.  There is also an application called "Easy Gossip" which links users to 7 gossip cites like E! and Perez Hilton.com Mobile! 

I found USA Today's app in the iTunes store, and discovered that it was free!  It gives you access to the publication's sections, pictures, and weather.  

What do you think of iTunes applications?  Are they a way for news organizations to adapt to the changes in the industry?  Do you think that this is a reasonable way to reach out to users?

In their Poynter Online article, "iPhone 3.0 Software Offers New Applications for News" Amy Gahran and Barb Iverson explain that "... the number of people getting news via cellphone doubled from 10.8 million in January, 2008 to 22.4 million in January, 2009."  They also explain further development of technology in the iPhone 3.0 Software that will be released this summer.  

I think that iPhones will continue to be more and more popular, and that news organizations really should take advantage of the opportunities that they offer.  As Iverson and Gahran write, "... even free iPhone apps can help build online businesses (including for news publishers, advertisers, or news-related services) by growing audience, increasing user engagement, or enabling additional features or services."

It took a while for iPods to become popular, and now they are mainstream.  Everyone I know has one, from the 11-year-old I babysit to my mom.  I really think that news organizations have a great resource in the iPhone, even if the benefit hasn't become completely apparent yet. 

What do you think? Is an iPhone App a useful and effective technology for news organizations?

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