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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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The News for a Mobile-First Consumer Survey, which was approved by the University of Texas at Austin’s Institutional Review Board (IRB), was conducted online during the summer of 2014. I commissioned the Office of Survey Research (OSR) at the University of Texas at Austin to oversee the fieldwork. I wrote the majority of questions on the questionnaire specifically for News for a Mobile-First Consumer. I also included questions for the first National News Engagement Day to establish a baseline for news engagement. Additionally, the questionnaire included questions that then-doctoral student Logan Molyneux, now a journalism professor at Temple University, wrote for his Ph.D. dissertation.

The survey questionnaire, which took 10 to 15 minutes to answer, was completed by 1,506 respondents. The sample of online respondents was acquired through Survey Sampling International, an internationally respected survey sampling firm. The source of the online sample was an actively managed panel. Since the panel sample was non-probability rather than random, it was requested that the sample match U.S. demographic statistics. Matching demographics of panel respondents is one method used to strengthen online panels according to AAPOR, the American Association for Public Opinion Research (Online panels, n.d.). ← 211 | 212 →

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