Instead of sending a photographer out to shoot a news event, why not ask a reader who happens to be on the scene to take the pictures with their smartphone and email them to the newsroom? That’s the idea behind a new photojournalism application called TapIn.
TapIn is the product of a Silicon Valley startup called Tackable whose founders include Luke Stangel, formerly a reporter with the Palo Alto Daily News and KLIV 1590.
The San Jose Mercury News offices were used as an incubator for the startup, Stangle told Scribemedia.org in March.
“It’s a fairly unique arrangement — we’re building a special version of Tackable which features MediaNews content and they’re paying us development fees, which have allowed us to expand the team,” he said.
MediaNews is now using TapIn at its 20 Bay Area papers, which include the Merc, Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune and Palo Alto Daily News.
Not only are readers asked to take pictures of assignments posted by editors, but they’re encouraged to send in live, breaking photos.
Tackable’s team told E&P that their goal is to have 150 newspapers participating in TapIn in the next few months.
The TapIn app appears to be just the beginning for Tackable. Since TapIn is oriented to a user’s location — that is, you can tap a map on the application and see what’s happening in a particular area — it can also be used to deliver location-specific information about restaurants, concerts, shopping bargains, and so on. Users can also access area and neighborhood news and events provided by California Newspapers Partnership journalists and one another.