HOME
          
LATEST STORY
The newsonomics of MLB’s pioneering mobile experience
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Dec. 8, 2011, 9 a.m.

New York Times Election 2012 iPhone app launches

Along with aggregating the Times’ politics coverage, it also tries a new way of sharing competitors’ stories with its readers.

Big, rapid change can be hard to implement at any organization the size of The New York Times, so I appreciate how the talented journalists, designers, and coders within the Times use offshoot or ancillary projects to try out new features or ways of approaching the news. Its new Election 2012 iPhone app, which launched this morning, features some fresh design elements — most notably, story clusters that tie a Times story to a number of other stories around the web.

For example, the current top story is this one on Democrats seeing the GOP primary as a two-man race. That’s shown as the lead story in a cluster that also includes this Washington Post story, this Business Insider story, and this Washington Examiner story. (Some interesting choices there! I also see links to National Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Talking Points Memo, CNN, and a YouTube video.)

Maybe most interesting of all, one of the current top items in the app isn’t a New York Times story at all. It’s actually a one-sentence summary of a L.A. Times story on Sarah Palin (“Sarah Palin said she would not weigh in early on the G.O.P. race, but she did offer praise for Newt Gingrich and the Trump debate”), on top of a link to the LAT story making that exact point.

The glorified link is given the same weight in the app’s UI as a regular Times story. That feels noteworthy to me — I can’t think of anything else as linkbloggy that the Times has ever done. It’s telling this is happening on the national politics beat, which is both a space where the Times invests heavily in coverage and perhaps the space where the Times faces the most vigorous competition, online and off. A true political junkie probably checks in daily with the Times, the Post, Politico, TPM, the Daily Caller, National Journal, the LAT, particular bloggers — so the key to getting the target market to actually launch this app is probably to satisfy the needs of those wandering eyes.

I assume, but don’t know, that these external links generated using tech from Blogrunner, the aggregator the Times Co. bought some time ago — although the promo site says “our editors” pick the stories, so maybe it’s a human-machine hybrid. (Update: The Times’ Fiona Spruill tells me it’s all human: “the links are hand-picked by an editor. Not using Blogrunner.”) The non-NYT articles open in a webview in the app.

The Times has gone through a few iterations of how best to aggregate the rest of the web for its readers (you may remember Times Extra, the green external links on the front page that lasted only a year), but this one hits an interesting mix of Times dominance and reader service.

Maybe more importantly, the app’s full content is only available to digital or print subscribers, which means it ties into the all-access model our own Ken Doctor talks about so much. For existing subscribers, this’ll serve as a nice surprise, a bonus to send home the value of a sub; for non-subscribers, it’s another little incentive, another reason to pony up.

POSTED     Dec. 8, 2011, 9 a.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
The newsonomics of MLB’s pioneering mobile experience
Running a sports league and running a news operation aren’t the same thing. But there are lessons to be learned from baseball’s success in navigating mobile.
Why The New York Times built a tool for crowdsourced time travel
Madison, a new tool that asks readers to help identify ads in the Times archives, is part of a new open source platform for crowdsourcing built by the company’s R&D Lab.
Opening up the archives: JSTOR wants to tie a library to the news
Its new site JSTOR Daily highlights interesting research and offers background and context on current events.
What to read next
1020
tweets
The newsonomics of the millennial moment
The new wave of news startups is aiming at a younger audience. But do legacy media companies have a chance at earning their attention?
803A mixed bag on apps: What The New York Times learned with NYT Opinion and NYT Now
The two apps were part of the paper’s plan to increase digital subscribers through smaller, targeted offerings. Now, with staff cutbacks on the way, one app is being shuttered and the other is being adjusted.
413The new Vox daily email, explained
The company’s newsletter, Vox Sentences, enters an increasingly crowded inbox. Can concise writing and smart aggregation on the day’s news help expand their audience?
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
El Faro
The Daily Telegraph
Alaska Dispatch
West Seattle Blog
CNN
Foreign Policy
Mozilla
Lens
Examiner.com
Los Angeles Times
Bloomberg Businessweek
Vox Media