Columbia-based media site releases iPad Application

Thursday, April 22, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA – hopes its new iPad application, released Wednesday, will change the way users consume its online news videos.

The website pulls stories from multiple news websites, synthesizes and analyzes the content, and then produces original videos that aim to provide context for the constant barrage of information that characterizes the modern e-world.

For more information

Watch the demo video on the website.

Developers Tony Brown and Peng Zuang, both MU students, spent about six weeks designing, producing and tweaking the Columbia-based media analysis site’s newest product. The free application can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store.

Newsy gave the pair a great deal of creative license with which to develop the application.

“Basically, they put us in a room with a whiteboard and told us to come back with something mind-blowing,” Brown said.

What they came back with was a product Brown described as simple, interactive and clean.

The iPad application allows users to sort stories by category, such as business or politics; to share videos through social networks; to comment on and rate videos while playing; and to build a customized playlist to watch when and where they want. Users can also click on links that take them directly to the stories Newsy analyzes from other sites.

Brown and Zhuang met through an iPhone application development contest at MU’s Reynolds Journalism Institute in the spring of 2009. They were part of the winning team, which developed NearBuy, a real estate app that helps locate homes for sale.

Spencer later approached them about the possibility of creating an iPhone application, and then an iPad application, that would give users better access to the site’s content via their mobile devices.

It is too soon to tell what users’ reactions will be to the app, but both Spencer and Brown expressed pleasure with the final product.

“I have a long working relationship with Newsy, and I’m very familiar with the direction the company’s going in,” Brown said. “I think we’re on the cutting edge of what’s possible in mobile video, that we’re turning heads and creating something really exciting.”

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