John Meyer has made a few mobile apps before, but he’s banking on Fresco, a news reader he’s developed over the last year. The idea is that it’s an “Instagram for news; you can discover the news by flipping through these beautiful images,” he says.
The photos have a caption and then include more links from around the Web to provide context. Right now, the app is free in the App Store and Meyer says they have “a great set of early users who are using it every day.” It’s not easy, though. Meyer and his team ran into some logistical problems in terms of getting good photos. Licensing from Getty or the AP is expensive for a free iPhone application. And the whole point is that there’s “captivating” images.
“We spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out where to source and discover images on social media,” Meyer shares. And it paid off: They now have a system to source, contact and license photos on social media in under five minutes. For breaking news, they’re on it. The licensing happens externally though a little automation and good old-fashioned human communication, but Meyer’s not opposed to making it something that can happen within the platform.
“That’s the long-term goal. We’re aiming to be in a position where we bring all of that back into the app. So it’s not just how you consume news, but you can submit to us,” he explains. They’re currently in talks with The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch about integrating their services, too.
Meyer’s optimistic: “I think it’s really great to develop a solution to how people are consuming news. If anything happens, we can get real people providing content [from social media] to news organizations.”
You can find out more at their website.