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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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More than half a century ago, when news was only available at appointed times from newspapers, TV, radio, and news magazines, almost 9 out of 10 adults in the U.S. read a newspaper every day. Today, with every type of news available on a mobile device anytime and from wherever consumers may be, fewer than half of adults in the U.S. seek news daily. Why are fewer people seeking news at a time when an unlimited amount of news is available on smartphones and tablets? And what, if anything, can be done to increase news consumption?

Increasing news consumption will not be an easy task because a new type of consumer has emerged in the news media landscape, replacing yesterday’s newspaper and news magazine readers, TV and cable news viewers, radio news listeners, and online news consumers. Unfortunately, a fraction of what we know about pre-mobile news consumers is relevant to today’s mobile consumers, leaving us with little insight about how to get more mobile consumers to engage with news on their smartphones and tablets.

Recognizing the need for new knowledge about the mobile consumer that has emerged in the news media landscape, I conducted a national survey to answer questions about mobile device owners, what they use their mobile devices for, and their news interests, engagement, and attitudes. Additionally, ← xvii | xviii → I asked survey participants about mobile news, news apps, and their perceptions of journalists and the quality of U.S. journalism. The results,...

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