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This week we get advice for building news-related mobile apps, learn about some possibilities to enlist the audience in news-gathering, and explore how Internet-enabled cars might affect local radio stations.

PART 1: Ideal mobile app features

Including the right features and developing separate niche apps can be the key to success in the competitive app market. We hear thoughts on what works best in a news-related mobile app from Ernesto Mourelo, executive digital media manager for editorial operations at Hearst Television, and Francesco Marconi, analyst for strategy and digital products at The Associated Press.

[To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]

Additional information:

The best free newspaper apps "play up the functionality of the device, are useful to readers, and give information to help citizens lead better lives on the go," says PBS MediaShift writer Dena Levitz, who also lists eight favorite newspaper apps in this article.

The affluent, educated users of mobile apps provide an ideal audience for specialized news products, writes Darrell Kunken, director of research/market analysis at The Sacramento Bee. His newspaper took advantage of its location in the state capital to create a niche iPad app focusing on California politics.

PART 2: Enlisting the audience as reporters

User-generated content has become a regular part of many news organizations' offerings, but some newsrooms are going a step further by putting out specific reporting assignments for members of the community. Katie Hawkins-Gaar, a senior producer at CNN iReport, explains the network's approach and its potential. We also hear from former Reynolds Fellow Joy Mayer about the possibilities in smaller news markets.

[To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]

Related content:

Although most citizen content seems to feed into breaking news coverage, Trevor Knoblich, media project manager for FrontLineSMS, suggests in this article that citizen contributors could "bring the same value —- personal stories, local context, and even volumes of personal data —- to nearly any news topic of interest."

Examples of some major news organizations' audience reporting efforts:

  • CNN iReport Assignment Desk: Built like a social network, where users can take on assignments from editors. A more involved set-up than what other news organizations offer, users can join groups around stories they want to follow, mark favorites and follow specific other contributors.

  • Fox News uReport: A compilation of news assignments specified by an editor and carried out by the public. Generally photography, but some short video submissions as well as an interactive map to locate where contributors are coming from across the country.

  • NBC News Citizen Journalist: An index of story topics and trends allows users to browse what interests them in addition to an assignment desk to share photos, text and videos.

  • Guardian Witness: An array of present and past picture and video assignments are featured that have all been reviewed by an editor before being published to the website.

  • Australian Broadcasting Co. Australia Open: An invitation for Australian regional communities to share photos, videos and text. A self-proclaimed work in progress aiming to involve the public through their website, radio and TV.

  • Al Jazeera Sharek: An Arabic platform of shared content through pictures and video that create an online community of users to comment and upload the latest developments in Syria, clashes in Iraq, and more.

PART 3: Internet cars

Internet-enabled cars are about to become mainstream and will give drivers access to thousands of entertainment and information options. We hear from two long-time broadcasters about what local radio stations can do to stay competitive.

[To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]

Additional information:

Inside an Internet-connected car, radio is already just a small part of an "in-vehicle computing platform" with online and satellite channels programmed into virtual preset buttons right next to AM and FM outlets, according to this Billboard report from the NAB Show in April.

Once the price comes down radio could have a big problem, but there may still be opportunity in providing local content, says CNET Executive Editor Molly Wood in this interview with Marketplace.

Reuben Stern  
 
Director of NYC Partnerships



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