Yahoo! Previews Upcoming Local-Mobile App

Yahoo! gave ASNE attendees a sneak peek of a new app the tech company is planning on unveiling in an unnamed city in the near future.

The app combines two popular trends in the news business: hyperlocal coverage and mobile content.

The local-mobile app will serve up relevant content throughout the day depending on geographic information about the user.

The app features a “News Around the Corner” section that can scan dozens of local blogs for content relevant to an area within a few blocks of a user’s location.

Localized public information like health/safety inspections and crime reports will also be offered.

Yahoo! Vice President Matthew Idema said the app will bring in advertising revenue by promoting local deals and circulars.

Presenters said it’s no longer funny to feign ignorance of technology, and news organizations should make mobile content a top priority.

Steve Buttry, the director of community engagement at Allbritton Communications, demonstrated the necessity of thinking mobile by asking the audience to think about how often they buy a car versus how often they do routine tasks like find parking, fill up with gas or get the car serviced. If companies can provide useful information to the reader’s everyday decision-making process, Buttry said, it would open up a whole host of new opportunities for location-based advertising.

“Mobile opportunities are the big story in our industry,” said Buttry.

Allbritton, the parent company of the political news site Politico, is putting together a local news site covering the D.C. metro area and mobile content is expected to be a key part of the new endeavor.

By Graham Moomaw