The Tacoma, Wash.-based News Tribune newspaper has launched a mobile app to cover the state political scene. Its “sole purpose is to provide wall-to-wall, up-to-the minute coverage of state government, particularly the Legislature,” Karen Peterson, executive editor, wrote in a column.
The new app, Capital Update, was a year in the making, according to Peterson.
Peterson described the lengthy creative and technical process that brought the app to fruition:
We’re practiced at covering the Legislature; state government coverage has long been one of our top priorities. However, none of us knew how complicated the process would be to build an app.
First, we settled on the content we wanted to include: stories, editorials, short biographies of legislators, committee assignments and state salary databases. We decided to add content from other trusted news organizations around the state, making ours a one-stop shop for this kind of news. We built a Twitter stream of influential people interested in the Legislature. And we learned to send breaking news updates for the most important happenings each day.
Spreed, a digital vendor we work with for our general news apps, provided a framework for Capital Update, so it will look and feel familiar to TNT app readers. We spent much of the 2013 legislative session perfecting the content and learning to operate the app. Last year we beta-tested iPhone and iPad versions.
Subscribers can access the app for free, while non-subscribers must fork over a $49.99 annual fee. It’s available on Android and iOS. Peterson called Apple the “fussier” of the two companies, noting that it usually takes Google less time to approve app submissions.
The News Tribune is Washington state’s second-largest paper.