Will iPad revolutionise multimedia journalism?

JUNE 4 — Okay. I want to talk about the iPad. Everyone’s talking about it and I want in. With all the iPepet jokes and all, I might just have some thoughts of my own, too.

So many people today are saying that Apple’s iPad is going to spark a whole new revolution in multimedia journalism.

What do I think? Yeah, it does have potential. But I think it will be more of a case of how well journalism can revolutionise itself to make use of the potential.

When the Internet came about, a lot of news organisations decided that they needed an online presence. So they created their own portals and sites.

Once they had that, all they really did was to take whatever content they had from their traditional media and post it online.

If it was a printed article, they would just retype it onto their website. If it was a video, they just duplicated it and did the same thing.

What they failed to realise was that they needed to come up with totally new concepts for their content for it to be suitable online.

Videos could be paired with text; audio could be paired with still photos. All kinds of Flash projects and 3D animation could be utilised to tell a story.

Now, the iPad comes out and everyone is raving about it. Just like the iPhone, but bigger and apparently better.

A lot of people are criticising it because it can’t be used to view Flash-based websites and whatever else. But I think that isn’t an issue.

The iPad is really a media tool that has its strength in its capability to run all sorts of applications, or Apps, as Apple calls it.

So, if news organisations can come up with some awesome and creative content, then definitely, journalism would be revolutionised.

Already, a couple of news organisations have jumped onto the bandwagon. The first that I’ve stumbled on is the Wired magazine App.

Wired collaborated with Adobe to come up with something quite interesting. Check it out here.

The Times has also developed an iPad App. I can’t seem to find a visual reference for the App, so I’ll try my best to describe it in words.

The Times designers created something that is unseen before technologically, yet still has the feel of a traditional newspaper.

Content can be downloaded and viewed offline. You can browse through or go straight to your section of interest.

It combines the modern and eye-catching technology available these days with the feel of a traditional newspaper.

Okay. Who am I kidding? I haven’t had the opportunity to check out how The Times application works. But forget that for now.

Both Wired and The Times seem to have the idea that their content is now so unique that they can charge for it.

However, I’ve observed that the New Media audience never like paying for anything since they have the idea that information should be free for all.

Then again, Wired has reportedly sold 24,000 of their Apps in the first 24 hours of it being released. I don’t know about The Times yet.

This could be a trend or it could the tipping point of multimedia journalism. I guess we’ll now have to wait and see which will prevail.

* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.


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