Meporter – Citizen journalism has been all the rage of late, with sites like Patch and CNN’s iReport encouraging users to submit articles and multimedia. Local newspapers have especially taken the brunt of newspaper closures, often leaving a gap in coverage for many communities.
Meporter seeks to capitalize on this concept by placing an app in your hands that enables quick sharing of news and information. Meporter’s tagline is “the beat on the street,” trying to capture the sense that the best way to get the feel for what is happening right now is through individual reports from smartphones.
The iPhone app is pretty well designed, as it includes sections for both reading and submitting news content. Meporter launches with a Google map of your community, including the blue dot to highlight your location. If someone has submitted content, it is represented by a pin on the map. Tap it to see the details filed by the writer. From here you can flag the post if the information is spam or offensive (aka porn). There are then other sharing options, such as choosing it as a favorite, adding a comment with the eyewitness tab or sharing it across social networks.
The directions tab makes an excellent use of Google map integration. Just tap this to be taken to the iPhone’s Google Maps app, which then displays directions from your location to the event.
The newswire section has a list of stories from anyone you have friended in Meporter or posts near to your location. This section of the interface is quite well designed, making it very easy to add text, a category, location and then post news content to Facebook or Twitter.
Creating a profile is another essential component of Meporter – with this you can include a profile picture and then invite other friends to join.
The usage of Meporter currently varies from one city to another. There were a number of stories filed in the San Francisco Bay Area, mostly promoting events, concerts or happy hours. Other communities, however, left a blank map. As with any other service, adopting users and expanding its social presence will be the main challenge.