WTNH-TV Launches iPhone Tipster App

NEW HAVEN, CONN.: WTNH-TV in South Central Connecticut launched a free iPhone app targeting the citizen journalist corps. WTNH’s “Report It” app allows users to send images, videos and e-mails directly to the station’s news room. The app is intended to encourage viewers to “join” the news department, the station’s announcement said.

“We are very excited that this new iPhone App will make local news a more interactive experience. Viewers will be able to send information and video to the newsroom with just the touch of a button,” said Kirk Varner, vice president of news at WTNH and sister station WCTX-TV, both owned by LIN Media of Providence, R.I.

Report It allows sharing via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and SMS within the app, and offers users immediate access to WTNH’s news and weather reports and alerts. The station also created an e-mail for tipsters without iPhones to contact the news room directly--reportit@wtnh.com.

WTNH parent LIN got into iPhones more than a year ago under a distribution agreement with News Over Wireless. LIN’s 27 stations were lined up with NOW for the development of custom iPhone apps. The technology was later extended by LIN stations to use with BlackBerry devices.

Several stations jumped on the iPhone app wagon in the last two years, though most facilitate distribution as opposed to WTNH’s tipster app. CBS and ABC owned-and-operated stations have iPhone apps, as well as WBNS-TV, the CBS affiliate in Columbus, Ohio owned by Dispatch. WRAL-TV in Raleigh, N.C. was one of the first to adopt the NOW architecture.
-- Deborah D. McAdams