Sunday October 31, 2010

If you want the latest Berkshires news, sports scores and theater reviews, we have an app for that.

The Eagle now offers a mobile local news application that readers can download for free on their iPhone, Android or Blackberry. Subscribers to the app can read the latest news and share it with family and friends by e-mail or text message, or can post the news to Facebook or Twitter without ever leaving the application.

The mobile app -- which includes weather and traffic updates coordinated to wherever the reader is using the phone -- is one of several online services The Eagle is using to reach a wider audience.

While The Eagle's print edition has shown a small decline in circulation over the past year, the media company's readership has grown significantly overall through www.berkshireeagle.com, the E-edition, social media sites Facebook and Twitter, and the Verve mobile edition, a smaller version of The Eagle website for cell phones that don't use apps.


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The Eagle's print circulation is 25,222 daily and 28,026 on Sundays, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation figures, released in September. Those numbers represent a 2.3 and 1.1 percent drop, respectively, from the same time a year ago. (The Eagle is up less than 1 percent daily from the tracking period in March and down less than 1 percent on Sundays.)

Despite some circulation decreases, however, The Eagle's audience is larger than it's ever been, with about 80,000 people a day reading the company's content through its various services, President and Publisher Andrew H. Mick said, citing Scarborough Research data and Eagle estimates.

According to Omniture -- an independent, online tracking service -- The Eagle has 247,979 monthly online unique visitors and 40,293 monthly mobile page views on its Verve edition. The Eagle also has more than 400 followers on Twitter and nearly 2,000 on Facebook.

"We are going to continue to do newspapers for a long time because the majority of our community and our readers are loyal to that," Mick said. "At the same time, we can't ignore the fact that there is a whole digital world out there that is moving forward at an enormous pace."

Mick said the newsroom has made a commitment to be "where the readers are."

In addition to the new mobile app, The Eagle has a special online sports section -- "High School Extra" -- which can be found under the sports tab at www.berkshireeagle.com and in the mobile app. The section houses updated scores, schedules, standings, stories and blogs from Berkshire County high school events.

Mick said the new platforms will serve not only residents in the county, but readers in larger markets who are part-time residents, frequent visitors or have some connection to the area.

Mobile app guide

Go to your smartphone's application store on your phone or online. Search for "Berkshire Eagle" in the application store and download the app for free.

Once the app is downloaded, it will ask you if you would like to use your phone's geolocation software (unless you already have this programmed into your phone's settings). If you allow it, the Berkshire Eagle app will give you the weather and traffic of the location of your phone, no matter where you are. If you choose not to use the geolocation feature, the weather and traffic updates will default to Berkshire County.

Scroll through the different section headers, such as Breaking News, Local Sports and Entertainment. Under each header are subsections that further break down the content offered on your device.

To see the entire story, click on -- or touch -- a headline. The app will open to another screen displaying the whole story, which you can scroll down to the end. To share the story, click on the "share" button in the upper-right corner of the screen. The app will prompt you to choose which media platform you would like to use and will connect you accordingly.

The app content is pulled directly from The Eagle's website using RSS feeds, meaning the content is refreshed every 10 minutes.

Note: The Eagle's mobile app is supported by Mobile Local News by DoApp, Inc. The app is compatible with iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android and Blackberry devices. It requires iOS 3.1.3 software or later.