Olympics, Day 11: The Reuters App

Olympics, Day 11: The Reuters App

It’s just an app. And yet, it is our future.

Reuters has an interesting iPad app from these games. If you are not familiar with it and have an iPhone/iPad, I suggest you try it out (it’s free).

Reuters has c. 50 photo­graphers in these games. Some photo­graphy legends (such as Kai Pfaffenbach) — and all of them just producing amazing images. Sure, they have access and facilities us mere mortals do not have — but that is not an excuse. They are simply good. No, not good. Amazing is more like it.

But this post is not about these photo­graphers so much, but about the app created to display their work.

Because I feel this app is a glimpse of the media how it will be in the future — how it should be.

You can choose images by sport or by day. It has a cumulative timeline of the days/events past. There are simple time schedules and results tables. Very little text, apart from concise captions. It is strictly visual.

You can search athletes, sports… and photo­graphers. There are bio’s of the photo­graphers, links to their website, links to their blogs… This is what I meant in my previous post when I stated that the photo­grapher becomes an integral part of the story. The guys behind these incre­dible pictures are an essential part of the narrative.

Simply: download it and check it out. Absolutely worth it.

Media in the Rio Games?

You do know that in addition to the Reuters App you can now have free video footage live (courtesy of the BBC) of all the events — plus naturally there is an archive of all the events completed?

You see where I am going with this? When a photo-agency does an app like that — and when the host broadcaster provides material for free of all the events.…

Where does it leave the “tradi­tional media” or the “legacy media”?

When photo­graphs are no longer published on a page of the newspaper — as the primary platform — or when the concept of “broadcasting rights” totally loses its meaning?

No, I am not saying that this will wipe out our legacy media all together. But it should be a hell of a wake up call if you are still working in the legacy media.

The olympics of 2016 will be in Rio de Janeiro. I wonder what the media will look like in four years time. I wouldn’t be surprised if I found myself working as a part of an iPad/web team primarily — not as a tradi­tional photo­grapher providing images for the legacy print to use on the ever thinning editions of their papers…

Naturally that requires that the legacy print start making some smart decisions and make them soon — instead of suffocating themselves to death, as is the present trend.

A Pitch

So: you still want to bet all your money on the physical paper? That a switch out of broadsheet into a tabloid is the best adaptation you can do in this situation? Your idea of R&D?

Uhmm… you might want to wake up and smell the coffee… :-)

I pitch you an idea:

Take the Reuters App. Add some high quality background video and multi­media. Some top writers to give us high quality text to read (but keep it opinio­nated — i.e. not dry reporting — and short: less than 2000 digits per story).

Writers with an established name, photo­graphers with a perso­nality and unmatched skills in their chosen field.

You understand why I think this is our future?

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