Monday, April 18, 2011

Morning Brief: UK MP worries that gagging orders are hampering investigative journalists; coordinating marketing for a media app launch a challenge

The Guardian today published a story this morning about the concerns of Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley, John Hemming, who is concerned that a new type of gagging order being used by UK courts will interfere with investigative journalism. "This goes a step further than preventing people speaking out against injustice," Hemming is quoted in The Guardian story (which first appeared Sunday online).

The Guardian used as an example of this new type of press restriction the "superinjunction against the Guardian to suppress a leaked report on its toxic waste dumping, which even prevented reporting proceedings in parliament," the article states.

One of the problems publishers face when launching new media apps is knowing exactly when their apps will appear inside the App Store. Unless you are launching a major app and working very closely with Apple your app will simply have to go through the app review team's system and then ... well, you'll have to be patient.

That doesn't mean the process drags out – despite some horror stories from individual developers and apps – the process has a logical sequence of events: after completing the online forms one submits their app, the app gets reviewed and is then approved or rejected. If rejected one can then appeal. For a "typical" app the process takes a couple of days, if rejected an appeal can take only a few more days unless there are issues with the programming or content

The problem comes in coordinating publicity with launch. Take this app from the Dow Jones Local Media group – SouthCoastToday Pix. It is the second iPad photography app released by the group, the first was CapeCodOnline Pix App (not a great name, was it?).

Released in the App Store on April 8, the press release that got my attention was released on the 16th, a Saturday. The press release contained no link to the app (that would only be known once it is actually in the App Store) and the only clue as to where to find the app was a link back to the SouthCoastToday website which was, at I write this, dead.

The app can be found under News, but the first page of the free news apps only goes back to the 13th, meaning that the app dropped off the first page severa days ago. The other choice as the main category would have photography. As of the time I am writing this post, the oldest app on the first page of free apps was released on the 4th, so if the app have used this category it would spend more time being visible, something to keep in mind when picking your categories.

As for the app itself, I like the idea – it is a great way to reward your photographers, get readers to contribute (if you include a mechanism for reader contributions). I found the app a bit sluggish, but my biggest gripe with the app was actually the photography. I opened the app and was immediately presented with photos from a family funeral, a stunning intrusion of privacy I thought. The description gave no reason why this private moment of brief was important for the general public to observe.

I deleted the app immediately after grabbing the first non-funeral picture I could find.