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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 8: Political Identity, News, Social Media, and Mobile


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The 2008 presidential election in which a junior senator from Illinois beat the senior senator from Arizona was historic. For the first time in the history of the United States, an African American was elected president. Less well known and, for many, significantly less important, the 2008 presidential election also made history because the Obama campaign led the presidential election process out of what his campaign manager called the technological “Dark Ages” (Plouffe, 2009, p. 36). By moving from the Dark Ages of technology to digital enlightenment, the Obama campaign connected with Millennials, a must-win new voter if then-senator Barack Obama had any chance of winning the White House, and established a new standard for presidential campaigns in the digital age. The Obama campaign’s commitment to digital, as well as reaching Millennials, was evident in its first campaign video released on the upstart digital video-sharing site YouTube that Millennials adored and older generations had likely never heard of.

The Obama strategy to target Millennials paid off because without the Millennial and African American vote the 2008 election may have had a different outcome. Digitally targeting Millennials not only turned out to be a winning strategy but it also forever changed how presidential campaigns would be run. By the 2012 presidential campaign, both President Obama ← 139 | 140 → and Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney targeted Millennials and older voters using digital platforms...

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