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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 10: The Future of News in a Crowded Mobile Landscape


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When the first Millennials were born in the early 1980s, legacy news media dominated. The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times were not only premier awarding-winning sources of news, their storied histories and influence were chronicled in best-selling books and studied in journalism classrooms across the country. CNN was in its infancy, USA Today had just launched as a general interest national newspaper that carried color on its front page, and the only people aware of a computer network that would one day be called the Internet were computer scientists in academia and Department of Defense workers.

Even though there were 1,701 U.S. newspapers, with a daily circulation of almost 63 million, when the first Millennials were born the daily reading of newspapers was no longer an institutionalized behavior and most adults turned to TV as their primary news source (Newspaper circulation, n.d.). Just as no one could have predicted the rapid transformative impact of the iPhone when it was unveiled in 2007, few, except Steve Jobs, could have predicted the sweeping changes the Macintosh would bring about when it was unveiled in 1984, just one year after the first Millennials were born. “Jobs knew when he unveiled the Mac that it would propel the personal computer revolution by being a machine that was friendly enough to take ← 179 | 180 → home” (Isaacson, 2014, p. 365)...

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