An in-depth look at the news industry and a new app that will change it forever.

Exclusive: Tech Explorer Steven Lee’s Interview with Fresco News Founder John H. Meyer

Fresco LogoJPGA revolutionary new iPhone app called Fresco is about to change the entire news experience for consumers and will further transform the news industry in a radical seismic shift. Watch out established News Divisions! Fresco is here and you’d better take notice. You have been warned: Either jump on board with Fresco, or sit back and watch as Fresco passes you by and leaves you in its taillights. The big news is this: The news is about to change forever.

Watch the Video!

EXCLUSIVE: Tech Explorer Steven Lee Talks with John H. Meyer about Fresco:

Fresco Presentation at NYU Demo Days, February, 2014


John H. Meyer, Fresco Creator

John H. Meyer, the Founder and Creator of Fresco, is in a highly unique position. From the point of view of established news companies, Fresco may be seen as either a threat, or conversely, a boon to their business. You see, Mr. Meyer hopes that Fresco will take off and build a huge user base of news junkies and casual users alike. This may be seen as a potential threat to established news sources such as CNN, Fox News or The New York Times. However, if you dig a little deeper, you’ll see that Fresco is designed to fill a void that exists due to the very technology it is using. Fresco holds the promise of bringing a renewed excitement and interest back into the news. If all goes as planned by Mr. Meyer, Fresco will quickly build its user base and at the same time, Fresco will lead its users to the content of the already established news sources. This, clearly, would be a huge benefit to news organizations that have been struggling for years.

In our exclusive interview with Tech Explorer Steven Lee, Fresco News Founder and CEO John H. Meyer discussed his inspiration for creating the Fresco app. According to Mr. Meyer, Fresco was inspired by his desire to win an Apple Design Award at this year’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco. Mr. Meyer has made a personal pilgrimage to the WWDC each year for the past several years.

John H. Meyer, at age 19, is already a highly successful App Developer. Mr. Meyer, a freshman at The NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, has written over 40 apps that are his own creations. He published these apps through his first company, TapMedia, LLC, which he started at the age of 15. Mr. Meyer is also now in high demand by other companies that seek his help in creating apps for their businesses. As we originally reported in our 2011 piece titled “16-Year Old App Developer”, Mr. Meyer has an intense passion for what he does.

John H. Meyer can only be referred to as a true genius, having taught himself how to write the code for apps, beginning in 2008, at age 13, in anticipation of Apple’s App Store going online for the first time. A small investment by his parents gave him access to Apple’s entire first round of seminars and code examples online. He spent the better part of that summer, the summer of the iPhone, teaching himself the early workings of coding for iOS on the iPhone. He has never looked back. Now, he takes a crack at the news business with his most refined, elegant, and highly advanced app creation to date.

SJobs iPhone

Steve Jobs Launches iPhone, 2007

Let’s take a look at some backstory to the news business over the past few years. The Tech Explosion has brought us exponential change on a scale never seen before in such a short time frame. The iPhone is only seven years old and within that short span of time, we as a society have been completely transformed. We now are completely addicted to our smartphones. In fact, as a friend of mine, Greg Keras, pointed out to me, it’s ridiculous to even call these things “smartphones”, because phone calling is the last thing we do with them. We now watch movies (Netflix), order food for dinner (Seamless), order up a car service in seconds (Uber), listen to our music (iTunes, Spotify, etc.), buy anything we want delivered next day (Amazon), buy anything we want delivered SAME day (Google / select markets), book a vacation stay (AirBNB), book a flight through an endless number of mobile apps, the list goes on and on…..

Now, with Fresco, Mr. Meyer’s mission is to completely transform how we receive, consume and share news. The news business is about to be turned upside down by Fresco, even more so than it has over the past few years. The concept behind Fresco is to build on the natural evolution that has already taken place among young people. That is, news has gone completely digital with younger generations and has been transformed in many ways to a crowd-sourced combination of news via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. That viral sharing of the news outside of normal news industry standards is what Fresco Founder John H. Meyer hopes to refine. His goal is to take the ragtag, disorganized “jumble” of an experience that is “news” to young people, and streamline it, perfect it, and make it an experience that is elegant, sexy, informative and exciting.

Fresco ScreenshotsJPG

Fresco: The New iPhone App Poised to Transform the News.


New York Times Hindenburg Headline

The iPhone and its resulting copies in the Android world have totally transformed everything we do. The Tech Explosion has lead to seismic shifts in entire industries in a few short years. One of the greatest impacts has been with the news business. Years ago, the news business was completely dominated by the “wire services” such as AP and Reuters, as well as the major print newspapers such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune. Those few wire services and major print newspapers “broke” every major story in America for decades. This goes for every major history-making event you can think of, from the Hindenburg disaster to Charles Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic, the start of World War II, the end of World War II and everything in-between and since then….except for the past few years. For decades, every monumental story was delivered primarily through the major newspapers, on their front covers, with creatively written, attention-grabbing bold headlines. However, all of that changed with the advent of the iPhone.


TV News and Tabloids Simply Read the Newspaper for Their Stories

On the TV side, the truth is, that TV news has always been the lazy stepchild of the news business. TV news for decades has relied on reading the morning paper and quickly shooting the same stories. A news script would be written from what the news editors had read early that morning from newspapers and the wire services. For this reason, TV news has never needed a huge staff to “break” stories. They would hire some young kids to read the early editions of The New York Times and other papers; then quickly seize on the hottest stories to cover that day from what they had just read. I myself experienced this firsthand, years ago, during the “tabloid TV” wars between the now deceased shows “A Current Affair”, “Hard Copy” and “Inside Edition” (Inside Edition may still be around in some markets). As a TV Cameraman for “A Current Affair” and a Director of Photography, I personally witnessed young kids in the newsroom whose job it was to come in bright and early and scour the newspapers each morning and literally cut stories out of the paper. These articles would be placed on the desk of the Managing Editor so the Editor could decide what attention-getting stories to cover that day.

Once upon a time the newspaper industry was thriving. It was run mainly by whisky-drinking, cigarette-smoking men that lived, breathed and died by the news, printed and delivered by burly men with ink-stained hands. Now, the very essence of the news business has changed, and continues to change so drastically, that even established heritage brands such as the New York Times simply cannot keep up. The new Tech Explosion is forever changing the landscape of news, even changing what the concept of “news” is.

News Business Turned Upside Down

News Business Turned Upside Down

At one time, the newspaper business was a highly competitive scene with multiple daily newspapers all vying for increased readership that would translate into ad dollars. Sometimes newspapers would print a morning edition and an evening edition, updating the paper during the day, especially if there was a breaking news story. This all seems very quaint now, but the fact is, it is extremely inefficient and wasteful. Cutting down millions of trees, using toxic printing inks and delivering heavy bundles of newspapers with smoke-belching diesel trucks is not exactly a model of efficiency. Now, a click of a mouse delivers the same content to countless iPhones, iPads and other tablets using a few pulses of electricity.

Today, many newspapers are in deep trouble. The New York Times, referred to by scholars and Professors of English alike, as “the paper of record”, is on life support. As evidenced by the turmoil in its own newsroom last week, things are not so rosy behind closed doors at “The Grey Lady”. In an odd twist of fate, The New York Times this past week was forced to write about itself, and the struggles it is having in keeping up with the times. The May 18, 2014 article was titled, “Abramson’s Exit at the Times Puts Tensions on Display”. Many of The Time’s issues are due to management and editorial disputes, but the newsroom would not be so tense if it were not under such stress due to the massive technological changes in the news business.

NY Times ArticleJPG

New York Times Writes About Its Own Problems

How telling would this be as a front page New York Times headline: “Times Can’t Keep Up With The Times”. As reported and posted by Buzzfeed, The New York Times own internal report, titled The New York Times Innovation Report 2014, discusses many of these issues.

The Times Can't Keep Up With The Times

The Times Can’t Keep Up With The Times

The monikers given to The Times over the years: “The Grey Lady”, “the paper of record”, their own slogan of “All the News That’s Fit to Print”, even the fact that Times Square in New York City is named after this storied institution, The New York Times, tells you that this newspaper is something special, or it was…

Today, The New York Times is losing readership and hemorrhaging ad dollars every day, losing ground to newer technologies like the iPhone, iPad and an endless number of other tablet-based options. Yes, The New York Times has created its own digital edition, but it hasn’t exactly taken off.

In his 2011 documentary titled “Page One”, Director Andrew Rossi got unprecedented access to The New York Times and its newsroom. This documentary explored the NYT’s attempts at keeping up with technology. However, Page One is already three years old, a lifetime in the world of The Tech Explosion. Now, three years later, the NYT’s struggle to keep up with technology seems even more hopeless.

“Page One” Trailer, 2011

Page One: 2011 Documentary about The New York Times

I myself, remember distinctly, the accolades given to the New York Times by my high school English teacher at the Bronx High School of Science. Ms. Geringer encouraged all of her students to purchase school subscriptions to The Times. She urged us to read the articles, not only for the information, but because the New York Times writers went out of their way to write to a higher level than any other newspaper. They used advanced words that would build our vocabulary just by reading them in context.

There are a huge number of problems with The Times, and every other newspaper from the “glory days” of the news business. They simply cannot adapt quickly enough to the changes in technology. The New York Times has had seven years to see the handwriting on the wall and to “change with the times”. Now, readership has dropped, printing presses are shutting down, there is less and less need for newsprint and ink, and the paperboy is a thing of the past.


The “Grey Lady”

If The New York Times is the old “Grey Lady”, then Fresco is the fresh-faced young kid with grand ideas and boundless energy. If the “Old Grey Lady” isn’t careful, Fresco “the kid”, just might wheel her right into a nursing home.

Fresco is everything that a news organization like The New York Times should have made itself into, over the past seven years, since the iPhone was launched. The problem, of course, is that The Times can’t possibly see itself as anything other than The Grey Lady. The management, editors, writers and reporters are so set in their ways, that they lack the capacity to truly change.

The problem with most newspapers is that their readership is dying, literally! Young parents today have made the switch to news via tablets, online and even Facebook and Twitter. These young parents may have grown up reading physical newspapers printed with ink on newsprint, but the convenience of reading an iPad is so enticing.

When you consider even younger generations, the situation is even more dire for the news industry. Teens and young adults couldn’t care less about newspapers. They’ve barely ever read an actual physical newspaper, since they have grown up with the Tech Explosion. They are accustomed to getting the bulk of their news as shared bits sent to them by their friends on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They have no love of holding a newspaper or smelling the newsprint and ink like their parents did. They’ve never “lifted” a comic from the Sunday paper using Silly Putty. They don’t even read the comics. Those days are gone.

facebook mobile

Mobile, mobile, mobile!

In fact, in many cases, newsmakers are now delivering the news themselves via their Twitter feeds, bypassing the entire news industry. As we reported back in February, 2014 in our piece “No Faces Needed”, Derek Jeter announced his retirement himself, via his own Facebook page. More recently, Gwenyth Paltrow announced her split, or “conscious uncoupling” with husband and Coldplay superstar Chris Martin via her own website, “Goop”. This bypassing of traditional news outlets is likely to continue. Movie stars, musicians, ballplayers and other high-profile people no longer need their agents, P.R. companies or traditional news streams in order to spread their message.

In an attempt to hold on to the “romance” that older generations have for “curling up” with a physical newspaper, The New York Times has been running TV commercials that portray a couple reading the Weekend Edition of The New York Times. In this case, The Times at least realizes that the “romance” of a newspaper is completely gone, except for occasionally on weekends when people have more time.

For the past 5 years, since 2009, The New York Times has been trying to keep the romance alive by running ads for “The Weekender”:

“The Weekender”: The New York Times’ Attempt at Keeping Readers

Fresco: The New News

Fresco ScreenshotJPG

Fresco Links to Established News Outlets

Early reviews of Fresco are already in. A very popular website, 9 to 5 Mac, wrote a review that “highly recommends” Fresco to “other news junkies”. The Fresco App for iPhone represents a return to the romance of news, through a simple, elegant app for the iPhone that you carry in your pocket or purse. By its very nature, the Fresco app may bring a resurgence of readers to established news sources, with its multitude of links to more in-depth stories. Consumers can now use Fresco to get a quick sense of what’s happening in the world through a beautiful picture, and read a short version of that story within the Fresco app. Then, if they have time, they can quickly advance to more detailed information through Fresco’s links to major news sources.

The ultimate goal of Fresco, however, is a radical transformation of the entire news process. John H. Meyer’s goal is to literally crowd-source the news. Now that a majority of the population carries a smartphone with a built-in camera on them at all times, this represents an endless number of potential news photographers out there “breaking” stories. The traditional method of all news coming from the wire services such as AP and Reuters no longer makes sense.

Fresco logo1JPG

Download Fresco on iTunes

The reason news now travels via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is due to its immediacy and the viral nature of everyone having a smartphone. We have all been conditioned to expect to be able to read breaking news instantly, not later that evening like our parents and grandparents. Fresco will refine the concept of instant news and make it into an experience that makes sense.

You can download Fresco for free by visiting the App Store.

Editor’s note: John S. Meyer, the author and Editor of TechExplosion.com is the proud father of John H. Meyer, Founder and CEO of Fresco News.

Tags: , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s