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New Drexel app to focus on news from The Inquirer, Daily News

Drexel University and Philadelphia Media Network will launch a mobile news app created by Drexel students to serve millennial audiences.

Drexel student Zunteng Lin reviews a story on his work station in the purpose-built app curation lab at Drexel’s LeBow College of Business.
Drexel student Zunteng Lin reviews a story on his work station in the purpose-built app curation lab at Drexel’s LeBow College of Business.Read moreEric Ulken / Philly.com

Drexel University and Philadelphia Media Network will launch a mobile news app created by Drexel students to serve millennial audiences.

The app, which will be available to the public next year for download on Apple's iPhones, focuses on news in the Philadelphia region produced by the staffs of The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com.

The app was conceived by undergraduate students at Drexel's Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship.

Working with digital-media entrepreneurs Jordan Motzkin and Ari Winkleman, the students come from a range of disciplines, including marketing, business development, arts and sciences, and media art and design.

A second team of Drexel University co-op students at Drexel's LeBow College of Business is testing and launching the beta version. The students will invite a hoped-for 2,000 beta testers - especially peers from local universities, affiliated school websites, and newspapers - as part of the beta phase, said Rosalind Remer, vice provost and Lenfest executive director of the Center for Cultural Partnerships at Drexel.

After the app's beta testing this fall, the co-op students will be embedded at Philadelphia Media Network's offices to fine-tune the app, its content, and design for launch in 2016.

"This is a real-world, real-time process that we plan to use as a template for the future," said Stan Wischnowski, vice president of news operations at Philadelphia Media Network.

The project was funded by a grant from Philadelphia Media Network owner H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest.

"This revolutionary approach benefits the students, our company, and our journalism," Lenfest said in a statement.

"It will help ensure that current and future generations of young adults - indeed, all adults - will get the news they want in the way they want it."

Said Drexel's Remer: "This carries the extra benefit of enabling students to pitch their research and product idea."

The Drexel-led app project is part of a companywide strategy that includes a redesign of the website Philly.com and the unveiling of an app for professional sports.

The free sports app, Philly Sports Now, features news and commentary from The Inquirer and Daily News and wire services on the Eagles, Phillies, 76ers, Flyers, and Union soccer. It is available at philly.com/iphonesportsnow.

earvedlund@phillynews.com

215-854-2808@erinarvedlund

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