According to Mark S. Luckie of 10000words.net, a website dedicated to advising journalists and web aficionados on how to use multimedia efficiently, the answer is yes. Luckie points to five iPhone applications that revolutionize mobile journalism as such apps "elevate journalism beyond just reading stories [by] interacting with them in new and different ways."
1. Kindle for iPhone
The success of Kindle for iPhone has demonstrated that readers are not only willing to read extensive text on a hand-held digital device, but that they are also willing to pay for that content. This gives media outlets room to speculate that readers will similarly be willing to pay for in-depth news coverage that goes beyond the encapsulated resume of a story, whether in the form of a subscription plan or in micro payments for individual stories.
How the Howcast application can revolutionize journalism is somewhat less obvious. Howcast, an unlikely candidate to save journalism, is dedicated to delivering instructional videos that teach viewers how to perform or do a certain activity such as how to chill a six-pack of beer in three minutes or how to whip up a tasty meal pronto. In his own words, Mark S. Luckie describes how an application that features how-to videos (instead of news clips) can have a powerful punch.
"It's time for newspapers to stop looking at the front page as the only source of material for iPhone applications. Many papers offer content in other sections that can be transformed into handy iPhone apps. For example, the archived recipes from the food section could be made available to the cook on the go..." said Luckie.
3. iheart radio
Of the plethora of available radio applications, iheart radio is unique in that it allows listeners to select any radio station by city or genre. Equally good news for Clear Channel radio, the app developers who managed to score a million plus users and increase their audience by an impressive 15%, broadcast journalism is looking up.
US iPhone users can now stay informed about recent crimes (including burglary, theft, assault) that have occurred their neighborhood simply by launching the SpotCrime app and viewing crimes on a map. SpotCrime was previously only available online on their website spotcrime.com.
The SpotCrime app is similar to the crime maps produced by news and independent organizations (who are often the gatekeepers of such data and statistics), yet it is the sole mobile offering that is unrivaled by the media outlets.
Imagine having your own personal tour guide with you at all times. Now you can. HearPlanet is an application that uses audio clips to describe thousands of landmarks around the world with a tap of the finger. Both the free and paid versions of HearPlanet include interactive maps and use GPS to locate one's current location and deliver relevant audio tours.
HearPlanet not only serves as an audio tour guide but also as search engine of news archives written about a specific location. The opportunity for journalism organizations to aggregate location-based/geotagged news and make it available to a mobile device has enormous potential. For instance, if a user fancied learning more on the history and recent articles that have been written on a particular monument it is just a matter of launching an interactive map.
There are literally tens of thousands of applications available for the iPhone and iPod touch. Certainly, there are more than five applications that can revolutionize journalism for the better.