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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 2: News in the Mobile Age


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News in the mobile age is more different than at any time in the history of journalism; yet in many ways news is also the same, despite reaching consumers on different platforms using different delivery systems and styles. Whether news is reported in a newspaper or magazine; on radio, TV, or cable; or on a desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet, news is still “a window on the world” that “aims to tell us what we want to know, need to know, and should know” (Tuchman, 1978, p. 1). Unfortunately, the public’s confidence in the press’s ability to open that window to inform us about what we want, need, and should know has declined to an all-time low.

A glance at Table 2.1, which compares Americans’ confidence in 13 different institutions, shows how little confidence the public has in the press. In fact, the public’s confidence in the press is so low that it is No. 12 on a list of 13 institutions (Confidence in institutions, n.d.). A measly 7% of the U.S. public has a “great deal” of confidence in the press, which is only two percentage points higher than the public’s low opinion of Congress, the last institution on the list. Although no institution can claim confidence above 50%, the public’s confidence in the press is a fraction of the public’s confidence in the military and scientific community. Even confidence in education exceeds that...

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