The iAppNetwork expansion is seeing a renaissance in local journalism resulting in the establishment of 15 new full time journalism roles in New Zealand.
The network of local independent apps began operations two and a half years ago with the launch of the Wanaka App. Since then twelve further markets have launched and more are planned.
“Most of the apps launched in the past 12 months,” says the managing director of Schistrockmedia (the company providing the platform on which the apps operate), Tony O’Regan.
“Hopefully the expansion can continue and more roles will be forthcoming,” said Tony.
The latest market to launch is Timaru, the third local community app belonging to operator The Ashburton Guardian. “We have apps in Ashburton, Selwyn and now Timaru,” said The Ashburton Guardian General Manager Desme Daniels. “Not only have we expanded our footprint and employed more journalist’s but the enhancement to our business means more security for all staff, and an increase in local journalism”.
National operator Stuff recently announced a proposal to cut 19 journalism jobs from the regions which comes on the back of the axing of some regional roles earlier in the year. “Some of those who lost their jobs at Stuff are now in the iAppNetwork. Some of our operators have been very fortunate to pick up such talented and experienced journalists,” says Tony.
“We’d like to have operators all over New Zealand and really help with the delivery of local news and information. The big problem for publishes has been the ability of their digital platforms to produce a revenue stream which is sufficient and sustainable, and one which gives them confidence to invest. Our operators are finding that their local app provides this certainty, which is really encouraging for the future of local news,” Tony said.
“We have over 100,000 downloads across the markets we operate in, and expect this to double in the next year,” said Tony. “It will ramp up quickly as markets mature and we add more operators.”
Schistrockmedia is the provider of LIMA, the Local Independent Mobile Application, which is the platform on which iAppNetwork apps function.