Home > Assignments > App Assignment, due 2.3.11

App Assignment, due 2.3.11

While there are all sorts of inventive and interesting apps, browsing through the app options, you’ll see that there are very few that deal specifically with journalistic concerns–those that do exist are usually just rehashes of news organization websites. There are very few that truly exploit the many things truly unique to mobile devices.

However, the many non-journalistic Apps available provide some interesting concepts for adaptation for journalism. For instance: What’s a Foursquare for news look like? Or a Yelp for city services?

For this assignment, choose ONE App from the Apple App Store, Google Android Marketplace, Blackberry App World, or other mobile app store (some will be pretty slim pickings though). And:

• Document what the app is, how it works, and what is innovative about it.
• Give FIVE ways that some of the core concepts or technologies in the application could be adapted to serve journalism. This can be a basic list, calling out each piece.
• Using that list as a starting point, flesh out the user experience of a new journalistic application in narrative form. How does a person use this application? What do they do with it? What services does it bring them? What is the experience like?

Note: this assignment is NOT “journalists could use this dictionary app to look up words.” After documenting an existing application, you should be proposing a NEW application based on some of the characteristics of the existing app.

The total report should be around 400-500 words. Please post it to the comments of this post.

Categories: Assignments
  1. Rick Majewski
    January 28, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Bill Atkinson Photocard
    This app allows the user to make postcards with his or her own pictures or with Bill Atkinson nature photos then add a message. Either text or voice. The file can quickly be sent to the receiver. Latter the postcard can be printed a 8.25×5.5 inches.
    What I like about this app is that it stream lines the photo and caption together in one package and its a fast on delivery.
    1.sending large photo’s
    2. adding captions
    3. quick
    4.easy to use
    5. edit on the app
    I would like to see an app that can upload large photo files (raw) that accompany it with a caption with a high word count. Also it will have to be able to carry with it the cameras metadata and GPS location to give validation to the photo. This would insure something like Robert Capa’s photo “Death of the Loyalist” would not be question if it was real or not. It would also have to send all the information very quickly and be able to send it to a multitude of platforms.

  2. February 1, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    I downloaded and have been using the Al Jazeera app for my iPhone.
    It can be used in a few different ways and gives access to most of its original websites capabilities. Its innovation seems to be that it can stream its live television broadcast at any time during the day.
    -All normally available news
    -Live stream of broadcast news from AL Jazeera
    -Blogs of writers for Al Jazeera
    -Original Al Jazeera website accessible
    The new app I propose would be an app that utilized the live stream capabilities that Al Jazeera’s app has. With this we could have an app that essentially can bring anyone to any show being played live. If someone were at a show with their smart phone that could record (or in this case stream live) then people could watch a show through other people. There are already apps such as Facetime that do this sort of thing but the sound quality is the hindrance. A live show will sound muddy and terrible in normal circumstances. But in my theoretical app the sound will be recorded in real time onto .FLAC files which have higher quality than normal mp3. The delay of the sound and video would be only a minor setback for a good quality live show via one’s cell phone.

  3. RJ Roxas
    February 2, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    An application I used to use a lot on my phone is called “PhillyD Official”. It is used so fans of Phillip DeFranco, a YouTube vlogger, can have easy access to his latest videos and his other social media sites. If a user has no access to a computer, he or she can still view Phil’s videos via a smart phone, and also look at his lastest Facebook, Twitter, and website updates. The application has a notification system to alert the user when a new video has been posted.

    To serve journalists, news companies can use these core concepts:

    1. Streaming video on a mobile device
    2. Having the ability to access social media sites on the application
    3. Alerting users when a new video is posted
    4. Giving users the ability to share the videos via social media
    5. Allowing users to comment on videos

    The app I would propose would be useful for videos of breaking news stories. Whenever a new story occurs, the application will notify users and they would be able to post comments to the video and share it on Facebook, Twitter, etc. If the user wants to find out more information about a story, they can easily access the website the video was posted on via the application. There would be categories the user can pick so that they don’t get notified for every single breaking news story. Users can choose to only be notified for a particular category of news such as crime related stories, severe weather alerts, or even breaking sports news (which, while some might argue, actually exist).

    The entire experience would make watching and reading the news easier on a mobile device because everything is conveniently located in one application. Instead of having to deal with mobile browsers, video applications or other social media apps, users can do everything in one place, making news consumption faster and easier.

    -RJ Roxas

  4. February 2, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    The App I downloaded is called Opismart and is from the Apple Itunes Store. The description states that it is a “fun and useful platform for opinion polls”. Although the App is full of trivial polls like “What’s David Bechham’s Best Haircut?” it does sometimes ask political or geographic preference questions showing its capabilities. Despite having over 135 Apps downloaded in my ITunes I found this App to be innovative because of its simple and informative design (you are able to see the results of the poll immediately after touching an answer) and use of opinion polls, something I personally have not seen on an App.

    This App could be adapted to serve Journalism if:
    1. Categories were included to separate the polls by news source
    2. Public opinion was sourced and divided by location using GPS
    3. The public (as in bloggers, not certified news sources) could put up surveys
    4. Links to Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites would be provided
    5. Inclusion of deadlines on the polls

    If established news sources were able to have specific pages/categories inside the App where they could include polls (like they would on the sidebar of an online story) the functionality for Journalists would go through the roof. It would also be useful if there was a platform for the public or less established new sources, such as bloggers, to create polls and do some free market research. Using this improved App would be the same easy, informative experience that Opismart provides but it would also serve as a connection to the world in the same way that other social media does. This improved application would also serve as an archive of information on the publics opinion/views on relevant topics which would work especially well if deadlines that kept the information and views relevant were included on the polls.

  5. February 3, 2011 at 8:14 am

    April Hornsby
    Mobile Journalism

    The app is called Easy Tether which allows tethering from the phone. This app is available through the Android Market. Basically, once it is set up through the phone’s set up wizard and pick the operating system of the computer you will use most, you can connect your phone to any device needing internet. Using the USB 2.0 ports on either the computer, XBOX 360 or PlayStation 3, this enhances the way of mobile internet being anywhere on the go for a low rate. The cost for this app is only $9.99 for a onetime charge and is way cheaper than the $30 that most cell phone companies charge to get this capability on the phone. To get the software to download on the computer is Mobile-stream.com/easytether/drivers.html or just plug the device into the laptop and the software downloads from the phone.
    How this can serve journalism:
    1. Anywhere a journalist goes, the internet is at the palm of his or her hand. If the journalist has his or her laptop, it allows the journalist to have the internet on a full html formatted device allowing to see images more clearly and scroll through information more easily.
    2. The cost of the app is way down from pricey cell phone providers. On average the cell phone providers charge $29.99. It allows Journalist a cost effective way to get information without breaking the pockets.
    3. Streaming Video on our phone is great but sometime it is sometimes hard to get a clear and quality picture. This allows for Journalist who may need something important out of the video to gain access virtually anywhere to stream video.
    4. The internet usage is unlimited. This is also different from the cell phone companies who only provide 5 gigabytes of internet service while paying the $29.99 a month. If a journalist goes over those 5 gigabytes than internet services can began to run slower while also incurring overage charges and the possibility to lose the ability to stream video.
    5. The phone can hook to multiple devices. Thinking of advantages of not only having to use the phone for just a laptop or computer, but it can also connect game systems. Say there is a documentary on Netflix that you choose to watch for a story, you are not limited to using just your laptop to view it. One can now watch the documentary on a television via an XBOX 360 or PlayStation 3.

  6. Joanna Wesoly
    February 9, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    I downloaded an app called Autodesk Sketchbook.
    It is a paint and drawing application that offers a full set of sketching tools and paint brushes available to the user. You can import pictures, use one of the 47 preset brushes, move, rotate and scale and picture, export images and save under JPEG, PNG and PSD formats. The most innovative thing about it is that you can draw and sketch on a touch screen phone or a tablet. The price of this app is 99 cents. There is a free version of this app but it does not come with all things included in the upgraded version.

    1) Importing or exporting large pictures to touch up
    2) Saving on the formats needed for either print or online…ex: JPEG
    3) Editing pictures in a short amount of time
    4) Sketching something a journalist sees that would work in a story
    5) Writing a caption on the picture or sketch

    The new app I would propose would be to take the Sketchbook App and involve social media. Once the journalist is done drawing or sketching a picture out and is okay with their finished project, they can upload their picture with the caption onto any social media site, like Facebook, Twitter, any blogs, etc. It would give journalists a chance to get their story out there as quickly as they can. They would have quick access to it because it is all in the palm of their hands. Their readership would also be able to view the picture quickly, then read the story.

  7. Aloysius Nelson
    February 10, 2011 at 6:23 am

    Aloysius Nelson
    Mobile Journalism
    App Assignment

    When I was in New York City last weekend I was having trouble navigating the city streets and I’m not a New Yorker by any means so it was difficult for me to know exactly where I was. I had a dilemma, I was in a place I was unfamiliar with and I knew what places I wanted to go to but I didn’t know how to get there or what its position looked like on a map. So, I took out my BlackBerry and I went to Google Maps in my web browser. I noticed that it wasn’t working in quite the same way I’m use to it working on regular way. Since BlackBerry has WAP, this may be the reason it wasn’t working in the way I was expecting it to. Anyways, I noticed that there was a link for a Google Maps app and since I was desperate to find my way around New York I downloaded it. After it was downloaded and I started running the app, I realized that the app showed my exact location with a blue blinking indicator. The app allows me to search through typing or voice in destination I desire on the map. It also has a link to popular categories. Also in the menu, I can get directions to a destination by entering a starting and ending point. I can choose a travel mode, whether it may be by car, public transit, walking, or bicycle. The app also allows me to see the traffic on the roads. I can choose whether I want to see it in map mode or satellite mode. I can also zoom in and zoom out to see the parts of the map I want to see. I’m also able to place stars on locations I plan on revisiting in the future. This app is very innovative because it can locate my exact position and take in various types of information to navigate me to my desired location while informing me of other details such as the amount of traffic.

    Five ways the Google Maps app can be used for journalism:
    1) If there’s a crime it can show the location of where a particular crime occurred and also details surrounding the event.
    2) If there’s a show for a musician I’m interested in it can show the venue location while also providing details such as discography and latest album reviews.
    3) It could show the locations of various community meetings and also display details of the meeting such as who attended and what the important things are that will be discussed.
    4) If there’s any breaking news event it can show me the location on the map and also a recent news story on that particular event.
    5) It could show me the locations of where each story originally took place in any local newspaper while also linking back to that newspaper article to read.

    This new app is now downloaded on your cell phone. You run the app and you see the map of the world. There are different color dots all over the map. You click on a tab that holds a list of your favorite musicians and bands. Now the map changes and you see five dots on the map that represent your five favorite musicians and bands. This app allows you to list as many favorite musicians and bands as you want. For example, the five musicians and bands you see on the map are The Roots, Lupe Fiasco, Rick Ross, Snoop Dogg, and The Neptunes. Out of all five dots there a three different colors and they are red, yellow, and green. There’s a red dot on Virginia Beach, Va. You hover over that dot and you see that it says The Neptunes and you click and see the details of the last song they put out. It also says their last song came out two months ago and it gives the specific date. The red dot means that this particular artist or band hasn’t released any new music for over four weeks. The red dot is in Virginia because the last song The Neptunes released was crafted in their studio in Virginia Beach. There’s another red dot and it’s on New York City. When you hover over the dot it says The Roots and you click it and it says their last song was released from their studio in New York three months ago. There’s a green dot on Miami, FL and there’s another green dot on Long Beach, CA. You hover over the green dot on Florida and it says Rick Ross. You click it and it gives you the most recent song of Rick Ross which was released in the one week ago from a studio in Miami, FL. You hover over the green dot on California and it says Snoop Dogg. Then you click it and it gives you a song he released three days ago from a studio in Long Beach, CA. The green dots represent that a song was released from a band or artist within the past two weeks. You hover over the yellow dot and it says Lupe Fiasco. You click and it lists the last song released by Lupe Fiasco. It says the song was released three weeks ago. The yellow dot represents that a song was released more than two weeks ago but less than four weeks ago. Basically, that’s the whole app in a nutshell. It’s a map that shows where music was made and the level of output of music from a particular artist or band.

  8. Chelsea
    February 10, 2011 at 8:05 am


    New York Street Food is an app that compiles all of New York City’s street food vendors. The app utilizes GPS locating to tell the user which vendors are nearest them, as well as maps with a street-view, which seem to be the most innovative feature. The application also has archived reviews of the top 100 vendors, and lengthier articles posted on the developers website.

    Restaurant Reviews
    “Best of” lists

    The “new” application I am proposing is first of all, nationwide, with the potential to be worldwide as well. The application would, like Foursquare, locate street food nearest you wherever you may be located at the time, not just when you are in New York City. Also there would be some sort of trending list, so people could see where people have been recently, are currently, or have been talking about online. The reviews and articles would be a more prominent aspect of the application, instead of going to the applications full website for them, they would be available on the vendors “page” of the app, and they would be written by food critics. There also would be the addition of a yelp type rating and review system to support the critic reviews. The map application would remain similar, using GPS of course to locate the user and then having the nearest vendors appear on a google map of the area. The ability of street-view would still be a feature as well. The next new journalistic addition would be the best of lists. These would be created from the trending lists and user ratings and then tested by the food critics. These would be key for users who don’t necessarily need to see where the nearest vendor is, but are genuinely interested in street food and are willing to seek it out regardless of proximity. The last journalistic feature of this new Street Food App is the articles. These would be small features on the owners, operators and chefs of these vendors. Articles previewing up and coming street vendors and anything else relevant to the street food community would be covered.

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