What does the “rise of mobile” mean for the future of journalism?

By "rise of mobile," news industry executives and journalism analysts refer to the very real fact that more than half of all Internet use now is through mobile devices, and that for a growing number of news publishers more half their traffic comes from mobile devices. But while the devices through which journalism is consumed are changing, many news publishers have yet to settle on an appropriate strategy for dealing with these changes. Not a lot of news is "optimized" for mobile devices, which means it is often hard to read and interact with on iPhones and Android devices. And think about how you find content on your mobile device. More likely than not you find it through an app that is wired into a social network (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) rather than searching for it on Google.

The business of mobile news is also changing. As we might gather from the thoughts above, the relationship between journalism and social media changes in a mobile-first universe, with publishers more dependent on staying in their good graces. And the way publishers get money in a mobile marketplace also changes. Data shows that customers are slightly more willing to pay for news on mobile devices but the market for display advertising is even worse than on desktops; screen sizes are tiny and ads are almost certainly seen as more of an annoyance than anything.

And so expect journalism to continue to wrestle with the implications of mobile technology in the years ahead. One interesting question will be whether journalists can not only adapt to mobile technology but whether their need to adapt to this technology will finally convince them that they need to be constantly anticipating the next digital disruption to come along, a disruption that will likely force them to grapple with the production and distribution of their news content in new ways.

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