August 29, 2013 Last Updated 11:11 am

Calkins Media launches two new iPad editions for its Pennsylvania and New Jersey newspapers

There are those that still appear to insist that it remains an open question about whether the future of magazines and newspapers is digital or print. One magazine trade magazine is so persistent in its defense of print that it has gathered together a slate of contributors that I like to call the Wagon Circlers. But their defense of print apparently does not extend to their own magazine, the latest issue of which was wafer thin, with few paid ads.

That does not mean that every single publisher is represented in Apple’s App Store or any of the other major platforms. As jammed packed with apps as those stores may be I can think of lots of magazines or newspapers that are still on the sidelines. Many are smaller titles, of course, and others are simply trying to survive today’s economy and media environment and don’t believe now is a good time to expend any new money or energy into new digital ventures.

BucksCounty-iPad-smCalkins Media, a media company based in Levittown, Pennsylvania, is one of those smaller media firms that one wouldn’t be surprised to know has not had much presence inside the App Store. But the company has just launched two new iPad for a couple of its newspapers. The media company owns eight newspapers and three television stations.

Bucks County Courier Times App for iPad and Burlington County Times App for iPad joins its two previously released apps Times App for iPad and Herald Standard App for iPad in the App Store. All four newspaper apps are identical in design, and all are stand-alone apps that are simply extensions of their websites.

I’m not crazy about these newspaper apps that are basically mirrors of the paper’s website, but I like that the Bucks County Courier Times app contains so much video at launch. It is a good use of the app’s design and because of this is probably more valuable than the paper’s website.

When considering what a local newspaper should do for tablets one has to consider whether the paper is expected to be a source of breaking news on a daily basis, or whether the paper is more of a leisure-time reading product. The apps here are basically following the NYT’s example of boxy tablet design, but the addition of video helps it be a bit more of a leisure-time news product.

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