Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

News app: The Apple of journalism’s eye?

An Apple Store in New York. Apple is reported to be introducing paywall content on its News app. (Photo: Anthony22/Wikimedia Commons under CC)

An Apple Store in New York. Apple is reported to be introducing paywall content on its News app. (Photo: Anthony22/Wikimedia Commons/CC)

On the heals of a concerning report to investors on iPhone sales, Apple is said to be introducing subscription content through its News app.

The tech company, which introduced the app last June as part of the new iOS 9 software, is looking to continue its competition with Facebook and its Instant Articles initiative. According to a report from Reuters, the move from the company would allow news organizations to maintain a relationship with readers, as tech companies including Apple and Facebook would be the go-to between them.

As of data compiled last October, there are over 50 publishers that participate in Apple News, and the Reuters reports quotes readership of 40 million readers.

While this has not been officially confirmed by Apple, this will likely continue the ongoing competition for readers by tech companies trying to engage audiences, which includes Instant Articles as well as Moments, the curation feature introduced by Twitter late last year featuring content from news organizations including BuzzFeed and The Washington Post.

Yet, this would be different from what had been seen when initiatives like this had been introduced, as it allows news organizations and publishers the ability to maintain that relationship with audiences on the platform, as well as give them the ability to engage new readers, something organizations have long since advocated for. In addition, it may give cause for new publishers to sign on with Apple and allow their content to be distributed under the frame reported.

We’ll have to wait and see what is confirmed from Apple, but journalism could be the Apple of readers’ and news organizations’ eyes.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is SPJ’s Community Coordinator and is a contributing blogger to Net Worked on social media’s role in the future of journalism. 

Outside of SPJ, Veeneman is Long Form Editor and a contributing writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post unless otherwise specified are that of the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital community, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

Can Apple take a bite out of Facebook?

Apple CEO Tim Cook, as seen in 2009, is leading competition against Facebook for new content consumption. (Photo: igrec/Flickr under CC)

Apple CEO Tim Cook, as seen in 2009, is leading competition against Facebook for new content consumption. (Photo: igrec/Flickr under CC)

At its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco today, Apple unveiled a new app for content from various publishers and news organizations. The app, which is to launch with iOS 9 when it launches later in the year, is to replace its newsstand app, which, according to a report from Mashable, did not fare well with users.

Yet, the most significant takeaway from the app was the method publishers have for content, as it is similar to Facebook’s Instant Articles initiative, introduced last month. Publishers are able to advertise on the app and keep the profits from the ads, while posting new content on Apple’s server. Initial organizations taking part include ESPN, The Guardian and The New York Times, and, according to a report from The Guardian, can be tailored to your location.

While it is still early days for both Apple’s news app, and indeed Facebook’s Instant Articles, as a report from Business Insider noted by the Nieman Lab indicates, as new tests begin on the initiative, one thing is clear. The competition is on for content and to host it in many new ways as possible. This has stretched beyond social media, and has become a new way to compete for content, giving new initiative for publishers.

Whether Apple can take a bite out of Facebook’s content plans remains to be seen, but today’s announcement makes one thing clear. Apple is ready to take on the social network, and it’s not going down without a fight.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is a contributing blogger for Net Worked, and serves as Community Coordinator for SPJ. Veeneman also is Deputy Editor, Media Editor and a writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. Veeneman also contributes to The News Hub web site. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post are that of the author’s unless otherwise indicated, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital executive, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

The New Mobile: News For the Next Gen

The art of storytelling and the consumption of news are both timeless human habits, so I wouldn’t worry too much about the journalist’s craft disappearing into the ether, just yet.

What journalists should be monitoring (and monitoring very closely) is the method of news consumption and how that news is translated to a mass audience on a day-to-day basis.

Before the printed word, oral declarations and one-to-one conversations were the only mediums for audiences to internalize the news.  And after newspapers and pamphlets came about, the print method didn’t last forever, either – it was overcome by online news and the proliferation of the Internet at the end of the last century.  Now, mobile is to web as web was once to print.

News organizations have been scrambling to jump aboard the mobile train, for fear of losing yet another audience population practically programmed to tap-tap-tap away on their smartphones all the livelong day.

But will the mobile fever last, or will it disintegrate before companies like Apple and Samsung have a chance to engineer smartphones large enough to comfortably read articles online, while also allowing for other mobile transactions like phone calls and text messaging to take place? (Is such an invention even humanly possible?)

I had an interesting conversation about this mobile trend with Meghan Louttit, a multimedia editor at The New York Times, this past week at the Online News Association at Ohio University student group meeting.

Meghan suggested that her peer group is actually taking this trend in reverse – that the print editions of books and newspapers have become a novelty item, a vintage collectible of sorts that shouldn’t be counted out of the market so soon.

I was genuinely surprised.  Who would have thought that millennials in their twenties and thirties are starting to subscribe to the Sunday Times, when they should (in theory) be exclusively devoted to digital updates and alerts?

Maybe this is a small trend that will eventually fade into the LED-screen sunset, but it was an interesting trend to consider, nonetheless. (I believe one of my journalism professors in attendance assured me that I would have to pry his Kindle away from his cold, dead hands).

I’d like to issue a response on this notion: Will print news make a rebound, or will mobile phones and tablets continue to issue a new wave of technological news consumption?  Are you a devoted Apple consumer (iPad, iPad Mini), or have you branched out with a Windows or Kindle Fire tablet?  Have you transitioned to reading the news only on your phone, or do you prefer reading articles on the web (or the old-fashioned print way)?  Does this method of consumption change when you read fiction?

Email me responses at or tweet them to me @bethanynbella.  I’m curious to know if I should (finally) invest in a tablet, and if so, which one.  Or should I stick it out and wait to subscribe to my local newspaper – when I start making an income of my own, that is.

I look forward to your replies.

Bethany N. Bella is studying at Strategic Communications and Environmental Political Science at Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. Connect with her on Twitter @bethanynbella or browse her work at

The views expressed in this blog post are that of the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital executive, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

iPhones, iPads under attack from China?

WireLurker logoApple Inc. made its powerful brand name on the strength of intuitive technology that for years seemed immune to routine hacking. Now, a malware campaign afflicting China threatens to dampen that distinction and harm those here who rely on any one of an estimated 800 million iPads, iPhones and 64-bit Macs.

The WireLurker malware reportedly flourishes in China on pirated software. Once installed it burrows into the operating system and waits for peripherals to connect, whereby it records the information passed between the devices. Much of that information consists of serial numbers, phone numbers and iTune store identification information.

Then WireLurker installs benign-looking apps that sift for other identifiers including texting history, address books and other private files to pinpoint potential targets. WireLurker also imports regular updates from an attacker’s command servers, thus remaining on guard against counterattacks.

Security company Palo Alto Networks alerted Apple users on this side of the Pacific in a recently released white paper.

Although WireLurker poses no immediate threat here as yet, it represents a comprehensive approach to malware distribution not seen before with Apple products, Palo Alto Networks says.

To reduce the risk of infection, users of Apple devices are advised to take a few precautions:

  • Avoid downloads from any location other than iTunes or the Mac App Store. To ensure this, in the System Preferences panel, click on the check box next to “Allow apps downloaded from Mac App Store (or Mac App Store and identified developers)”
  • Avoid connecting or pairing your Mac or portables with other unsecured devices, whether they are Mac- or PC-based.
  • Keep the operating systems updated on all devices. The updates also plug holes in system security.
  • Keep all antivirus and anti-malware programs updated as well.

Keep in mind as well: The people most at risk are those who ignore every pop-up security warning Apple throws at them.

Palo Alto Networks is providing a tool to detect WireLurker infection on Mac and advises that removing WireLurker and the damage it causes will require expert attention.

Supreme Court paints a bull’s-eye on the ‘cloud’

U.S. Supreme CourtA high court ruling this week that sent a renegade over-the-air TV provider reeling could leave a scar that stretches into the digital ‘cloud.’

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court cinched shut a legal loophole that let upstart Aereo tap the prime-time broadcast signals of the major networks and stream them directly to customers, bypassing cable and satellite providers altogether and skirting the systems and agreements networks created to charge for their broadcasts. Those charges created a revenue stream worth about $4.3 billion in 2013.

A legal challenge arose almost the moment Aereo started two years ago intercepting the network signals relayed from the antennas atop the Empire State Building in New York City and sending those signals straight to subscribers’ computers or mobile devices. Aereo grew to serve 11 metro areas.

The networks said what Aereo was doing amounted to copyright infringement. Last year, a federal appeals court disagreed.

But the Supremes ruled 6-3 on Thursday that Aereo resembles a cable TV service and so should comply with federal rules cable and satellite providers follow in distributing copyrighted material. The rules were first laid in place in 1984, when home VCR recording was popular, and were extended in 2008 to cover remote storage and DVR usage.

Aereo is not expected to survive. However, Thursday’s ruling likely will ripple out much further.

Aereo logoDuring the case’s oral arguments, held before the Supreme Court in April, a point arose that widely available cloud storage services managed by Apple, Dropbox and Google are not held to the same standard as Aereo though they offer similar remote data access. Currently, the onus of copyright violation involving files stored in the cloud falls on users and not the services themselves.

In other words, if a pirated broadcast is discovered in someone’s Dropbox account it’s the account’s owner who suffers, not Dropbox.

The Supremes stepped gingerly away from the door they opened by saying, “We cannot now answer more precisely how (copyright provisions) will apply to technologies not before us.” Analysts of the ruling say this just opens a path for data providers to squeeze usage fees out of cloud storage providers.

“The court is sending a very clear signal that you can’t design a system to be the functional equivalent of cable,” University of Maryland legal scholar James Grimmelmann told Vox. “The court also emphasizes very strongly that cloud services are different. But when asked how, it says, ‘They’re just different, trust us.’”

If it ever comes down to making a legal distinction, cloud users may also suffer, says Mark McKenna, associate dean and professor of law at Notre Dame.

“That’s the cloud companies’ concern — do they have to now make sure all of their users are only making available things they own?” he told


David Sheets is a freelance writer and editor, Region 7 director, and past-president of SPJ’s St. Louis Pro chapter. Reach him by e-mail at, on Twitter at @DKSheets, on Facebook and LinkedIn.


Videolicious is looking good to newspapers

Videolicious logoIn print journalism, video keeps elbowing into the picture. News sites once devoted to words now see film clips as essential supplements to written work.

At the same time, those sites are trimming or eliminating the staffers who shot and edited those clips, preferring instead to have reporters with smartphones take over.

But many reporters lack the knowledge or inclination to shoot video, because they either never tried or are reluctant to tackle what seems like an overwhelming new set of skills.

That’s why newspapers such as the Washington Post and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch are trying Videolicious, an application for iPhone and iPad that simplifies and somewhat demystifies video making.

Videolicious creates video reports shot fresh with iPhone or iPad, or from clips and photos already in the device’s camera roll. Users can record a voiceover for narration with the device’s reverse-camera feature while splicing clips with just a screen tap.

The free version of Videolicious has a 1-minute video length limit, with a maximum of 20 separate shots per video, and storage at for up to 20 projects. Pricing plans for $5 and $10 per month add features like longer video, more storage, a music library and commercial branding.

Videolicious debuted in 2011 and gained popularity among real estate agents to promote their properties. This year, the Post assigned about 30 of its staff to test the product. The Post-Dispatch recently began tutoring reporters and editors on it as well. has a demonstration of Videolicious on YouTube.


David Sheets is a freelance editor, Region 7 director, and past-president of SPJ’s St. Louis Pro chapter. Reach him by e-mail at, on Twitter at @DKSheets, on Facebook and LinkedIn.


Instagram now lets you embed photos, video on websites

Instagram logoInstagram expanded its image-sharing capabilities Wednesday.

The social networking service unveiled a new feature that allows Web embedding for user photos and video. Before Wednesday, most sharing outside Instagram was limited to other social sharing sites such as Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr and Twitter.

Now, users can find share buttons next to their images appearing on Instagram’s website. Clicking on the button, located just south of the comment button, opens a small window containing an embed code that can be pasted into blogs, Web pages and news articles.

Below that code in the same window is a publish button. The photo or video includes an Instagram identity wherever it’s published.

As for technical details, that’s all Instagram said about the new feature. The rest of the service’s news release Wednesday dwelled on content ownership, which Instagram insists will remain with the image’s owner.

“Your embedded photo or video appears with your Instagram user name, and clicking on the Instagram logo will take people to your page on,” the release said.

In December, Instagram changed its terms-of-use policy to permit all user content as fodder for “paid or sponsored content or promotions.” The only way to avoid this was for users to delete their accounts.

Subsequent outcry from privacy advocates as well as Instagram users forced the service to apologize and change the policy after one day.

Instagram launched in 2010 originally for Apple platforms but grew to include Android devices in April 2012. That same month, Facebook acquired Instagram for about $1 billion in cash and stock.


David Sheets is a freelance editor, Region 7 director, and past-president of SPJ’s St. Louis Pro chapter. Reach him by e-mail at, on Twitter at @DKSheets, on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Behold, the tablet (circa 1994)

Steve Jobs may have unveiled the highly anticipated Apple tablet yesterday, dubiously named the iPad (how many jokes did you see on Twitter and Facebook after the morning release?), but true tech/geek/news nerds know the idea is not exactly 21st century.

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane. To 1994. When Knight Ridder’s Information Design Lab — notice they avoided calling it the News Design Lab — was experimenting with digital ways to present the news. Something tells me the R&D people over at Apple examined a few of these as they brainstormed an iPrototype.

File under #dontsaynewspapersdidnttry

Tablet Newspaper (1994)

SPJ Digital Media Committee member Jessica Durkin is the founder and editor of, a directory of online, independent news start-ups. Jessica is a former daily newspaper reporter based in Scranton, PA.

How to purchase an iPhone app

The following instructions are valid for iTunes 9

First you’ll need to have an iTunes account. To set up a free account click here.


There are many ways to find an iPhone app, the easiest is to click on the App Store tab on the iTunes site. Otherwise, you can search sites like Gizmodo which gives you a more detailed review on the apps.

You can use the search field at the top if there is a specific app you want to find.


For example, to purchase the free IMDb iPhone app (which is essentially a movie database) type in ‘IMDb’ in the search field.

A new page will appear that tells you how much the iPhone app costs. You will also see the list of requirements (which is important because this will determine if the app will work on your phone), ratings and reviews, and much more.

You’ll see a page with screenshots of how the IMDb app will appear to function on your iPhone.


Click on <Free App>

A new window pops open that requests your Apple ID and Password asking you to sign in – because Apple wants to track what you purchase, even when the iPhone app you want is free.

Click on <Get>

To verify that you have successfully downloaded the iPhone app click on ‘Applications’ under the LIBRARY tab.



In order to use your new iPhone app you’ll need to sync your iTunes to your iPhone.

Plug in your iPhone to your computer. The name of your iPhone will appear under Devices.

Click on your iPhone and in the new window click on the tab ‘Applications’.

You will see all of the iPhone applications that you have ever downloaded and not deleted in alphabetical order (or however you have your specific system set up).

To find the IMDb app go to the search field next to ‘Sync Applications’ and type in ‘IMDb’.

Select the IMDb app for syncing by clicking on the box next to the IMDb app to create a check mark.

On the right hand side you’ll see your iPhone screens.

The number of different applications your iPhone can store will vary with your specific iPhone software version. If you are running version 3.1.2, as of posting, the most up-to-date software version, an iPhone owner can have up to 159 apps on 11 screens.

By default iTunes finds the most open screen to place your new app, however you can select a different screen by dragging the icon to a different screen (the ones that appear scrolling down the pages that appear on the right).


Press ‘Apply’ and you’re done!

Related Link:

The Best iPhone Apps of 2009

Hilary Fosdal is the Interactive Content Manager for Barrington Broadcasting Group. She blogs at and tweets @hilaryfosdal.


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