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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 5: Millennials in a Mobile News and Social Media World


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The dirty little secret about news consumption trends is that the youngest of the Millennial Generation are even less enamored of news than older Millennials, threatening the future of news engagement even more today than in 2012 when I first asked: Is news engagement a thing of the past? Declining news consumption, negative Millennial news coverage, Millennials’ embrace of social media, and the changing of the generational guard have contributed to my concern about news engagement’s future. The oldest generations that were committed to news are dying out and they are not being replaced by the Millennial Generation. Legacy news coverage about Millennials may be less negative today than four years ago but it still routinely excludes them from the news, reinforcing the message that legacy news and even many non-legacy news sites don’t care that much about them even though they are critical to their future.

During its short history, social media’s relationship with Millennials has been the opposite of legacy media’s; from the beginning social media embraced Millennials and as more social networking sites emerged, social media attracted more of Millennials’ attention and filled up more of their time, time that could have been spent with news. And just as social media appeared to reach a plateau in attracting older Millennials’ attention as ← 69 | 70 → they came of age, smartphones emerged and commanded the attention of younger Millennials, giving...

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