Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Morning Brief: The U.K. phone hacking scandal widens; LetterMpress app recreates hand-driven printing press

While much of the British (and even American) press points its fingers at News International, the British arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., over the phone hacking scandal, the real loser here is the media's credibility, in general.

While the public's confidence in the newspaper and broadcast news industry has increased slightly, still barely a quarter of the public trusts the news media. Things are going to get worse, at least in England.

Yesterday the Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to hold a public inquiry into the scandal caused by the revelation that News of the World, a News International tabloid, had hacked into the cell phone message systems of victims of the 2005 London bombings. A private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, was employed by the paper to do the hacking.

But all the handwringing in the world will do little to change the media landscape, as even Cameron admitted when he said that the News Corp. takeover of British Sky Broadcasting Group, known as BSkyB, would go forward, uninterrupted. Cameron recently met one-on-one with Rupert Murdoch, and in 2008 a mini scandal erupted when it was learned that Cameron took free flights to Greece to meet with the head of News Corp.

Released yesterday into the App Store, LetterMpress is an app for the iPad that recreates the experience of working with a traditional letterpress. The app costs $5.99 to download and originally was a Kickstarter project, raising $39,495, though their goal was only $15,000.
The app replicates traditional printing press techniques, with users assembling wood types and art images, even hand-cranking a virtual letter press to create prints, posters, books, invitations, greeting cards and photo albums.

"As someone very familiar with letterpress, I was amazed and thrilled to see the creators took time to accurately and respectfully integrate the traditional tools and processes into the user experience, said Mary Austin, Co-founder and Board President, San Francisco Center for the Book in the company's app launch announcement. It's also a fun and playful introduction to the art of letterpress and typography."

Neenah Paper, the world's leading manufacturer of fine printing papers, is sponsoring the introduction of the LetterMpress app.