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Posts Tagged ‘iPad’

The Kindle Fire: Amazon’s Answer to the iPad

Looks like the tablet family just got a whole lot bigger. Today, Amazon announced three new e-reading products with impressively low price points that are sure to tantalize even the most fanatical luddites amongst us. Along with an upgrade to their original Kindle, Amazon released two touchscreen e-readers called the “Kindle Touch,” one with free 3G wireless capabilities and one without. What’s so cool about the Kindle Touch is that even though it incorporates the multitouch technology we’ve grown accustomed to in our mobile devices, it still eschews LED backlit screens in favor of E Ink, a format that makes the reading experience much more akin to reading printed copies. It’s also easier to read E Ink in bright environments than it is to do so on backlit devices like the iPad.

But perhaps the most exciting product announced today is the Kindle Fire, Amazon’s answer to the iPad. With a price point significantly lower than the iPad, and no camera or microphone capabilities, the Kindle Fire isn’t a direct competitor to the iPad, but it’s definitely a significant stride in that direction. It’s a smaller color screen device that comes loaded with access to Amazon’s impressive entertainment database of movies, music and books. The tablet runs on Android OS, making it easy to sync your Google and Amazon accounts on the device. The Kindle Fire’s affordable price is what makes it a formidable opponent. A Kindle Fire device is just $199, compared to $499 for the least expensive iPad model.

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AOL Releases “Editions,” A Social iPad Magazine

Yesterday AOL joined the mad rush for an iPad product with the release of Editions, a new iPad app set to compete with the likes of Flipboard and Pulse. Editions pulls in articles from a host of different online sources to deliver you a neatly packaged product daily to your iPad.

Much like The Daily, Editions is a daily iPad-only magazine with a finite amount of articles to peruse, meant to only be read once a day. Unlike The Daily, however, these articles are not AOL originals. Instead, the content arm of the app functions a lot like Flipboard, allowing you to sign into social networks so that it can cull the news you like from a variety of sources. The app’s personalization feature means that just by reading your favorite stories and publications, Editions can tell what kind of news you care about, and can adjust your feed accordingly. For this reason, AOL is marketing it as a magazine that “reads you,” instead of the other way around.

It’s tough to see what differentiates Editions from its array of formidable competitors. Mashable argues that the “holistic, organized news feed” and “finite amount of content” are two of its best features, while TechCrunch points out that the once a day refresh on content can make the news in Editions pretty “stale” by day’s end (though it’s worth noting that it’s possible to change the time of day you’d like Editions to refresh). All in all, it’s an interesting effort by a company whose digital prowess has been much maligned in recent years. As for whether or not Editions will be a homerun or a strikeout for AOL, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Black Media’s Next Steps: An Interview with Benét J. Wilson

Benét J. Wilson

With the current rapidly changing technological advances, traditional Black media is in a state of flux. Black media in 2010 faced the same sorts of challenges as mainstream news organizations have also faced, and many outlets have started plans to upgrade their online presence to reach out to readers and form communities. But with newspaper and magazine circulation decreasing for Black media outlets, is it too late to innovate?

I spoke with Benét J. Wilson to get an informed perspective on the matter. Benét is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the lead blogger for the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force’s NABJDigital blog. Benét is also the online managing editor for McGraw-Hill’s Aviation Week business aviation channel, and is a member of Black Social Media Professionals and the Online News Association.

Maurice Cherry: Among magazines, television, and blogging (and other forms of media), what is the current state of Black media right now?

Benét J. Wilson: I think it’s a mixed bag. There are some great examples of what’s good, like Dallas South, theGrio and The Root, just to name a few, but I also see the traditional Black press struggling to keep up technologically and financially with all the rapid changes in journalism. I see it as a lack of human and financial resources to create and maintain web sites that attract and keep those all-important eyeballs, especially when there is so much content to choose from these days.

MC: Given the fast-changing technological landscape, what should Black media do to keep up?

BJW: I say take a page from Ebony and do a redesign. After decades of dormancy, I became a subscriber again. My timing was great, because it happened to be the first issue under its new design. I found the new design to be easy to read, with many articles that related to my life. Of course, no publication is worth its salt these days without a strong companion website and an iPad app. Black media organizations need to train their existing staff on topics like search engine optimization (SEO), content management systems (CMS), social media, etc., to ensure that they are targeting the correct audience. Most importantly, they need to find a niche. “Black people” is a very broad demographic, and what a 40-year-old, college-educated, East Coast suburban working mother likes is completely different from what a twentysomething urban West Coast black man will like. Black press can no longer afford to be all things to all Black people.

MC: Are there any Black media outlets that are doing it right?

BJW: The three sites I mentioned earlier are a great start. The current state of media reminds me of a scene in the Pixar movie Up. All the dogs in the movie seem to be focused on their task, until someone yells squirrel. Then, their attention is distracted and it’s hard to get them back on focus. I see that as a dilemma faced by all media though, not just the Black media. Getting readers to focus on their publication when there’s so much out there to distract and tempt you is difficult.

MC: Do you think there is a gap between professional journalists and bloggers when it comes to Black media? Can they sit at the same table?

BJW: I do see a huge gap. I have been a journalist for more than 20 years and a blogger for more than five years. Journalists tend to focus on all the training they’ve received, which is the right thing to do. There are good and bad bloggers out there, but many of my brethren tend to lump them all together and look down on them as a whole, unless they are also journalists. But the last time I checked, unlike doctors or lawyers, there isn’t a credential that specifically identifies someone as a journalist, like Benét J. Wilson, PoJ (practitioner of journalism).

An interesting trend I see is journalists using their blogging or online platform to create their own niche content in a category I like to call newsformation (news + information). Example of this include Natalie McNeal of The Frugalista, Leila Noelliste of Black Girl With Long Hair website, Marian Anderson of Haute Travels and Greg Gross of I’m Black And I Travel.

I also look at bloggers/writers who should be sitting at the journalism table who don’t embrace the journalism title, like Kiratiana Freelon of Kiratiana Travels, Gina McCauley of What About Our Daughters, and Deanna Sutton of Clutch Magazine. They are doing great work.

My feeling is if you follow the rules of journalism and create content that readers find useful (whether you agree with the content or not), there should be room at the table for journalists and bloggers. As co-chair of the National Association of Black Journalists’ Digital Journalism Task Force, this is an issue that is near and dear to my heart, and I have even submitted an amendment to NABJ’s constitution to broaden membership to include bloggers.

I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the Black Weblog Awards and your efforts to promote and elevate great content by other Black bloggers. Afrobella, Kiss My Black Ads, and The Black Snob are just a few of the great content sites I have discovered.

MC: What is the future for Black media?

BJW: The future is what each publication makes it, but those that do make it will do so when they create that balance of news and content that readers find relevant. And I see that coming to those who create a particular niche among Black people, rather than trying to be all things to all people. They also need to make sure their online game is stellar, with a good website, active social networking channels like Twitter and Facebook, and an interactive iPad app. In the end, Black media will have to adapt or die.


Benét J. Wilson is the co-chair of the National Association of Black Journalists’ Digital Journalism Task Force. She also write about travel and aviation at her blog, Aviation Queen.

jPad: Initial Thoughts On Some News/Journalism iPad Apps

Part two in an ongoing series. Click here for part one.

Waiting for me on Thursday after I got home from work was my new iPad 2. I was quite excited – the (relatively long) wait was over and I could start exploring what all the hype over the revolutionary gadget was about!

And, let me say, so far, the device is more than lived up to its hype. Here are some of the relevant news/journalism apps I’ve downloaded to my iPad so far: Read more

Will The iPad Save Journalism? Let’s Find Out

Many think the iPad represents the future of journalism. Who couldn’t like news conveniently delivered to the popular Apple tablet, displayed with newspaper-style type treatments and widescreen video in high definition? Lots of people are joining the iPad 2 club each day; Apple sold 4.69 million iPads during the second quarter of fiscal year 2011. So what does the device really mean for journalism?

I’m about to find out, because I’ll be getting an iPad in a few weeks! I will be using this space to share with you, on occasion, my experiences with the device, good and bad, and what the device means for journalism. We’ll call these posts jPad: The Future?

My iPad will not likely arrive until the end of the month, but here’s some “what” and “why.”

I plan to use my iPad mostly at home, and hope it is a good cross between reading news in a print newspaper or magazine and reading it on a full computer. At least at first, I will continue to get my news in print and on a full computer, too. Perhaps if I am truly blown away, the iPad will become a full substitute.

I hope the posts in this series will include some technical details as well as general reviews of journalism-related apps.

One thing I will say up front: the iPad still has a high barrier to entry — its high cost — that is currently preventing it from wide enough adoption to “save journalism.” Print media is cheap enough for everyone to afford and most Americans have access to a regular computer at least through their school or workplace. The iPad, on the other hand, is an “extra” device that not everyone can afford. But over time, as the cost of technology drops, the iPad could truly be the future.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. I’ll report back after I unbox the iPad in a few weeks.

But first, I need your help. What are your favorite news apps for the iPad? Reply below in the comments, or tweet them out using the hashtag #jpad. I’ll list a few in my next jPad post!

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