Monday, May 7, 2012

Signal app for iPhone

The iPhone will soon be coming out with a new app that is specifically for citizen journalism. This app is coming from Lebanon from an entrepreneur named Mark Malkoun. He has explained that this app was designed specifically to get important news feeds out to people, locally, nationally, or internationally.

TNW explained that this app opens up many opportunities for citizen journalism, that Malkoun explains we cannot get anywhere else. Although there are many social networking sites that have been used as news feeds, they were not designed with journalism in mind. 

Malkoun explains that, "Traditional news is centralized and can be slow or biased...And existing social networks tend to be news about friends, people, or brands, and are not suitable for on-the-ground events. We needed an app that simply shows you the most important happenings in your country or the world and that’s how Signal was created.”
This app can potentially bring about great opportunities for citizen journalism. It has the qualities of Instagram, as reported by Mashable, combined with social networking as well as qualities of Witness. This app has essentially taken into account all of the key elements of popular media to provide the news we need and want right at our fingertips. This app is perhaps the citizen journalists dream come true with constant feed, up-to-date, no opinion or spam, with location relevance. This app will make it so we can see everything from the nearby car accident on the 5 freeway, to the protests in Russia, to the Hurricane or Earthquake disasters across the globe. The news feeds will be rated according to interest or relevance, and they will be done so in a “democratic” manner. 

This is the next step of citizen journalism, taking inspiration from Witness, where people can upload video and photographs to share injustices occurring across the globe. However, this new app takes it even further to sharing any relevant news in any area. We know this kind of news sharing was done through social media and other outlets during crisis times like Hurricane Katrina, but now there will be an app that is specifically designed for this sort of thing, instead of scrambling around all sorts of sites to find relevant news. This app may be able to save lives, it may be able to bring awareness to issues that are not reported in our local or national news outlets, it will allow worldwide sharing and coverage. Ultimately the news will be sitting in our pockets and we will be choosing what news is most relevant to us currently.
This however, brings into question what effects it may have on journalism now. As we know print journalism is fading away, it is struggling to keep up with the demand for instant news right at our fingertips. With a new app such as Signal we can see that print journalism may become obsolete, it will no longer be necessary to pick up a paper anymore because we have read all local, national, and international news on our Signal app as it happened. We could be interested in some follow-up information, but we can easily find that online without having to pay a penny. 

Because we will be receiving instant news updates, will we even need structured news agencies anymore? Their work will be done by the citizen journalists posting up-to-date information as it happens, all that will be left will be summaries and opinion, which we can find elsewhere online. Will apps like the Signal app push print news and even television news onto the sidelines? Will it render one or both obsolete? Time will only tell, but at the rate in which we are going, it seems that what the people want is facts, simple and short facts, that is what citizen journalists can provide and that is what news consumers will take. We want our news quick, we want it concise, and we want it up-to-date, Signal provides that with the convenience of a smartphone app, with a social networking and Instagram quality that we love. 

And don't worry Android users, a version of the Signal app will be coming out for you as well! 

1 comment:

  1. This is a very relevant and well-developed story about how digital journalism is being shaped by new forms of app-based user behavior and how people in regions where there may be limited access to a free press are interested in more than social networks based on friendship. I took the liberty of breaking up your story into shorter more readable paragraphs and would also encourage you to structure stories with the strongest beginnings, middles, and ends possible. Finally be tough with yourself about editing out cliches like "paying a penny" or "time will tell" to bring out your very best qualities as a writer.