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CNN’s iPhone App Debacle Raises Questions About Embargoes

cnnmobile101.pngCNN launched a new $1.99 iPhone app today.

That, in itself, might be some pretty interesting news, what with a cable news channel charging for an application that is similar to what other news organizations are giving out for free. The idea raises questions about the future of paid content: Is there an audience for this? Will people buy it? Who will launch the next paid app?

But beyond that, this announcement has been clouded by other journalistic questions, namely the use of embargoes and their necessity. Our sister blog PRNewser reports that Reuters reporter Robert MacMillan was upset by the fact that a rival reporter at Associated Press member paper The OC Register broke an embargo that would have kept CNN’s announcement under wraps until midnight.

“PS, we were going to hold this until midnight because it was embargoed,” MacMillan wrote. “That embargo has been broken, so bombs away.”

Should CNN have embargoed this news? As news of the embargo break hit Twitter last night, Silicon Alley Insider editor Dan Frommer noted how unremarkable this sort of announcement had become. “‘Company X has an iPhone app’ is the new ‘Company X has a website,’ he said.

All Things Digital columnist Peter Kafka agreed, advising his fellow reporters to stop accepting embargoes for iPhone apps.

Do you think he’s right? There are thousands of apps with new ones, paid and unpaid, announced by media companies every day. Just yesterday, the AP launched one of its own, charging $28.99 for access to its 2009 Stylebook. And today, another release arrived in our inbox announcing the second iPhone app created by Rodale‘s Women’s Health magazine, a free app called “Your Slim-Down Shopping List.”

Some of these apps are innovative ways to possibly create new revenue streams for struggling companies, but is every little announcement newsworthy? Or better yet, embargo-worthy? What do you think?

PRNewser: Reuters Reporter Upset As AP Breaks CNN iPhone App Embargo

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