Will People Pay CNN To Help Them Report The News?

from the shouldn't-that-work-in-the-other-direction? dept

I've been seeing good reviews for CNN's new iPhone app, that's apparently well-designed. Lots of people are pointing out that the app is being offered for $2, as they wonder if people will "pay for the news." Except, of course, anyone with an iPhone can access cnn.com for free via their browser. So, if they're paying for anything, it must be additional features or convenience that the app allows -- not the content itself. And, for all the good reviews of the app, there's one "feature" being promoted that I'm not so sure I understand. Everyone keeps talking up how the app will turn anyone with an iPhone into an on-the-spot reporter:
Among the high points of the CNN app: It offers the chance to essentially join the CNN reporting team. Readers are invited to submit their own photos and video clips to iReport, a feature CNN already uses on its Web site for gathering material from the public.
Reading this, all I can think is that CNN is asking people to pay it to work for CNN. If it works, bravo for CNN, but that does feel a little backwards, doesn't it? I can totally understand user-generated content sites where people do work for prestige rather than money, but I'm not sure how enticing it is to get people to pay to do work for you...

Filed Under: citizen journalism, iphone apps, news, reporting
Companies: cnn


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  1. identicon
    doug vannoni, 1 Oct 2009 @ 7:13am

    Am I the only one?

    ...who's noticed that CNN has very slickly blurred the advertorial line by including ads in an app that people are paying for? And of course, who can blmae them for initiating a 2nd rev stream, but wow, nicely done CNN.

    On start up I get told that Chevron is bringing this app to me. Really? I thought it was my $1.99 that got me the app. Then in stories & my favorite is the full screen roadblock ad I get while waiting for the video to load. A photo that looks like a news photo using a close-up of a young girl pensively looking into space for Lexus of course.

    Aren't the ads supposed to be in a "free" version? Seems we've had us an unwritten app rule that free=ads and pay=contentonly, a nice rule that has set the new digital medium apart from it's newspaper & cable tv predecessors. However, maybe the new technology really can't escape the same old greed that's mucked up all the other stuff.

    Seems to me, that above all else, if the CNN app is ultimately a success, it will show developers & advertisers alike that people really don't mind paying to see ads.

    Great, so basically we've taken this new medium & as is human nature I guess, invested it with a bunch of crap. And if that's the case, then I for one would like to let us all know that we suck.

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