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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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Chapter 1: The Smart Mobile Landscape


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Two years after Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, a Pulitzer Prize–winning editor from the Washington Post showed off his iPhone to a journalism class at the University of Texas at Austin. The editor, who was a journalist in residence that spring 2009 semester, was one of 12 invited speakers in the Journalism, Society, and the Citizen Journalist class that had been created as part of the Carnegie-Knight initiative on the future of journalism education. The class theme for that semester was “Conversations about Challenges Facing the Future of Journalism.”

While the professor who created the class expected invited speakers to discuss challenges related to the collapse of the newspaper business model, newsroom layoffs, multimedia skills required of journalists, new competition (bloggers, citizen journalists, online-only news sites) in the media landscape, and the declining news audience, she had not expected that a new type of mobile phone would be part of the conversation. It was, perhaps, hard for the professor to fully grasp the iPhone’s role in journalism’s future because she—like most people in 2009—did not own one. But The Post editor did, which is why he showed off his iPhone with a screen filled with apps to the classroom of future journalists. ← 1 | 2 →

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