GoCatch is a smartphone app that allows passengers and taxi drivers see each other’s current location on an GPS map. Passengers can request the closest cab by making a booking via the app. The app’s goal is to make the taxi system more efficient by providing passengers with a faster service and taxi drivers with more jobs.
Its developers received funding from the government and have since launched goCatch across several states including Victoria, Queensland and NSW.
Not everyone is happy about that though. NSW Taxi Council is not happy, as reported by the media sources listed above.
The article has a well rounded collection of opinions from both sides.
I felt the article was slightly biased against the app, but I didn’t know why. After squinting at individual sentences and picking them apart I came to the conclusion that quotes taken from app developer Mr. Campbell are a good device used to emphasize the angle. Here they are:
“So if someone is not a taxi driver, downloads it and drives around in their old beat-up Commodore or something then when they actually arrive to pick you up as a passenger you’ll see that they’re not a driver and you can immediately report them or whatever.”
“So when a taxi arrives, you need to sort of use your own common sense and make sure it is a taxi before you get in it. Don’t get into a taxi if it’s not a taxi I suppose.”
The quotes make the developer appear slightly dismissive of the issue, which I’m sure he’s not, but its a good choice of language to manipulate the reader’s opinion.
Hyper-linking: present! SMH hyper-linked the words ‘NSW Taxi Council’, ‘goCatch’ and ‘Collaborative Solutions’ (which is the name of the govt. initiative that supported goCatch)
Reporter’s Twitter link: present!
Comment functionality: absent! How, how, how can the DIGITAL life section of SMH lack the comment functionality? Ironic, huh
This article took an angle that was more sympathetic towards the goCatch app. These quotes from Andrew Campbell highlight a different side of the story to the one told by SMH and Brisbane Times.
“The taxi industry is dominated and some people say monopolised by powerful industry stakeholders.”
“Because it is a largely monopolised, self-regulated industry, there is simply no incentive for improvements in efficiency, customer service, driver conditions, safety and standards in general.”
My favourite functionality of the page was the Related Coverage box embedded in the article.
Why? Because it actually contained related coverage. Stories concerning the taxi industry, taxi drivers and passengers.
On the bottom, a tool bar listing such social media widgets as MySpace, Yahoo and Digg presented itself to readers.
I think covering goCatch is newsworthy because the news is timely (it comes after the Taxi Council’s comments), it has proximity (the app is australian), it is relevant (we all use taxis from time to time), it has conflict (the clash between the new and the old systems of taxi booking) and it has currency (because there are other similar apps and lots of issues both legal and social to explore)