We have thoroughly entered the age of mobile news.
People are shifting so rapidly to smartphones and tablets, various data suggest, that mobile devices in the last year became the primary platforms for news. With that comes a whole new level of uncertainty and opportunity for news publishers.
The American Press Institute recently gathered more than 40 leaders in mobile journalism for a day-long Thought Leader Summit, in association with Google, to assemble the best current knowledge about mobile strategy and practices.
The event covered many angles — from mobile content choices, business models, technology, to staffing and more. The day featured in-depth discussions, small working groups that made recommendations in areas of their expertise, and participant surveys that explored how mobile works at leading organizations.
Mobile requires news organizations to transform how they function internally, present content, sell advertising and engage users.
Afterward we spent time distilling the work of day into nine key concepts about how publishers should adapt their businesses and content for fast-growing mobile audiences.
The ideas, and in some cases the words themselves, are drawn from the few dozen participants of our summit. We don’t imply that every summit participant endorses every idea or view expressed in this white paper, but collectively they deserve credit for any wisdom you find useful in the chapters that follow.
The nine concepts are these:
- A mobile-first organization has editorial, technology and business teams working together in new ways
- Mobile news presentation should be different from web or print
- Mobile and social media are intricately linked
- Mobile apps and mobile websites are for quite different audiences
- What it really means to “engage” a mobile user
- What you don’t know about the “second screen” and “utility” behaviors of mobile users
- Advertisers buy audiences, not publications or platforms, and data is the key
- Mobile advertising needs more creative thinking
- How to hire or promote for mobile jobs
We know at API from our own research conducted with the the Associated Press and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago that a majority of American adults now get news on mobile phones — and that it not limited to the youngest age groups. At the same time, people continue to use traditional platforms like desktop websites, newspapers, TV and radio as well, but mobile is growing fast and is changing users’ behavior and expectations.
What we heard from our summit participants is that mobile requires news organizations to transform how they function internally, present content, sell advertising and engage users. And they had some pretty good ideas about how to do that, which are explained in the chapters that follow.
The summit participants were:
Digital Design Director, The Atlantic
Director of Mobile, The Washington Post
General Manager, Breaking News
Director of Digital Media, KING Broadcasting Co.
April Brumley Hinkle
Chief Revenue Officer, Texas Tribune
Director, Global Monetization Solutions, Millennial Media
Corporate Director Digital Content, BH Media Group
Vice President, Engineering & Product Development, Slate
News Director, Denver Post
Anthony De Rosa
Senior Editor for Digital Platforms, The New York Times
Product Manager of SB Nation, Vox Media
Vice President, Advertising Strategy & Performance, Deseret Digital Media
Executive Director, Mobile Products, The New York Times
Emerging Media Editor, Wall Street Journal
Mobile editor, CNN
Mobile Product Manager, Washington Post
Director of Creative Strategy, Millennial Media
Manager, Developer Marketing, Millennial Media
Senior Product Manager, Boston Globe
Vice President, Mobile & Connected Devices, SpotXchange
President, Deseret Digital
Editor – NYT Now, New York Times
Director, Digital Editions, National Geographic
Senior Editor, Mobile and Innovation, Huffington Post
Senior Product Manager, The Atlantic
Digital Strategist, Urban Airship
Mobile Managing Editor, USA Today
General Manager, Slate
Director, Mobile Initiatives, McClatchy Interactive
Manager, Business Partnerships, NPR
VP of Growth & Data, BuzzFeed
Lead Designer, Cofounder, Silica Labs
Mobile Technology Manager, NPR
Mobile Product Manager, Gannett Digital, Gannett
Deputy Managing Editor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Director of Digital Strategy, Washington Post
Senior Mobile Product Manager, USA Today
Director of Digital Development, USAT Sports/FTW
Technology Strategist, Digital First Media
Director of Mobile & Emerging Platforms, New York Daily News
Mobile Editor, Opinion, New York Times
Lead Developer, The Atlantic
Senior Strategist, Mobile and Video, Advance Digital (Advance newspapers)
CTO, Silica Labs