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News for a Mobile-First Consumer

Paula M. Poindexter

The rapid adoption of mobile devices has created a new type of consumer, one who chooses smartphones and tablets over laptops and desktops, TV and radio, print newspapers, magazines, books, and landline phones. This new mobile consumer has not just forced businesses, institutions, governments, and organizations to innovate with mobile solutions; this new mobile consumer has upended the news media landscape, challenging news organizations and journalists to produce news for consumers who have little resemblance to yesterday’s newspaper readers, TV news viewers, and online news consumers.

Based on two national surveys, News for a Mobile-First Consumer introduces a mobile consumer taxonomy comprised of three types of mobile consumers: mobile-first, mobile specialists, and mobile laggards. The demographics of these mobile consumers as well as their relationship to news and social media are explored in depth. Social media as a competitor to and platform for mobile news are also examined, and special attention is devoted to news apps from the perspective of consumers.

News for a Mobile-First Consumer also provides insight about millennials, racial and ethnic minorities, and women, who are at the forefront of the mobile revolution but less engaged with news. To improve mobile journalism and increase news engagement, «Essentials of Mobile Journalism» are proposed.

As the first book to explore news and consumers in the mobile sphere, this book is required reading for scholars and professionals as well as undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in journalism, communication, strategic communications, advertising, media and society, marketing, and technology courses.

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First and foremost, I would like to thank Mary Savigar, Peter Lang Publishing senior acquisitions editor, for her enthusiastic “yes” to News for a Mobile-First Consumer. When I proposed the book project to her, there was virtually no research literature about mobile news consumers and there was only one academic study about journalists who were using mobile devices to report the news. Special appreciation is also expressed to Peter Lang’s Phyllis Korper, Bernadette Shade, Sophie Appel, who designed the eye-catching cover, and reviewers, and the copy editor who helped improve News for a Mobile-First Consumer.

Additionally, I want to acknowledge ONA, the Online News Association, because their inclusion of a mobile news panel at their 2013 annual conference which I attended, helped me make the case for a book on this topic and for my course proposal to then–University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism director Glenn Frankel. My proposed course News for a Mobile Audience, which I first taught spring 2014, was the first mobile news course taught exclusively to University of Texas at Austin journalism students. The other course on mobile apps, which is taught by my colleague Robert Quigley, is cross-listed with computer science.

My News for a Mobile Audience course was critical to the development of this book because it underscored the need for a book that focused on the transformed mobile landscape and the role of mobile news consumers, who ← xxi | xxii → are different from traditional news...

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