“Tinder” the Town: Innovative App for Local News

Regional newspapers are facing a crisis, and apps for local news haven’t really captured the public’s imagination. Against this backdrop, the Center for Media, Communication and Information Research (ZEMKI) and the Institute for Information Management (ifib) at the University of Bremen as well as the Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research at the University of Hamburg have come up with a new idea: in cooperation with future users they are developing an innovative mobile news and information for young people app based on so-called "Tinder logic". The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the project with around 640,000 euro up to 2019.

The app will initially be developed for Bremen and two surrounding districts

The app should be as intuitive to use as the dating app "Tinder". This means users should be able to classify information in the app as interesting or not interesting by a simple wipe. This makes the intelligent app familiar with its users and programs it to screen messages specifically tailored to their needs. The target group encompasses young people aged between 16 and 36. To start with, the experimental app for the state of Bremen and the two bordering districts of Osterholz and Verden will be conceived and developed together with the local media and digital industry, municipal administrations, district councilors as well as the political parties and associations active in the city and the surrounding area. In addition, communities such as sports clubs, citizens’ initiatives, art clubs and initiatives, social movements, and religious communities will also be encouraged to join in the data collection and app development.

Project is a radical step forward

The idea behind the app is that previous developments have been driven far too much by the design of established media houses: essentially, this simply involved transferring the existing offer to mobile devices. The interests and habits of the users were secondary. The project combines empirical communication and media research with co-creative software development, thus adopting a radically different experimental approach. It begins with research on the everyday use of young people and on the basis of this develops step by step a news and information app ideally suited to their tastes and preferences. The two years of funding will result in an experimental app with editing possibilities. “The app is designed to show what is possible when you turn your mind around and shift focus from the practices and interests of media companies to those of users,” says Professor Andreas Hepp (ZeMKI), who leads the project together with Professor Andreas Breiter from ifib at the University of Bremen and the Privatdozent Wiebke Loosen from the Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research at the University of Hamburg. Such an approach is completely new and will explore the full scope and potentials for the general development of such software.

If you would like to have more information on this topic, feel free to contact:
University of Bremen
ZeMKI, Center for Media, Communication and Information Research
Dr. Leif Kramp
Phone: +49 421-218-67652
email: krampprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de
University of Hamburg
Hans Bredow Institute
PD Dr. Wiebke Loosen
Phone: +49 40 45 02 17 - 91
email: w.loosenprotect me ?!hans-bredow-institutprotect me ?!.de

Frauenhand hält Smartphone
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