Mobile news consumption has been growing by leaps and bounds in the past few years and journalism education should consider ways to incorporate smartphone news gathering/production in the curriculum.
The phenomenal growth of mobile news consumption
The UK Guardian recently published a survey report on the mobile traffic to Guardian’s mobile and desktop sites in 2010 and 2012, respectively. Here’s a visualization of the traffic data in 2012:
Two themes in the graphic and the report that are worth noting:
Two years ago, mobile traffic was less than a quarter of what it is today. We now serve roughly 3.3 million pages on mobile devices each day, not including our views of our iPad app.
The iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch now account for the best part of three quarters of all Guardian mobile traffic.
According to a recent PEW national survey, “half of all U.S. adults now have a mobile connection to the web through either a smartphone or tablet, significantly more than a year ago,” and news is an important part of what people do on their mobile devices.
Also noteworthy is another PEW survey report indicating that while the young generation are much lighter news consumers and have largely abandoned the print news product, they get news on mobile devices to similar degrees as older users.
How the industry experiments with mobile journalism
As summarized in an article, mainstream news media, such as New York Times, WSJ, Guardian and BBC, have started integrating smartphone into their everyday news gathering and production.
In a recent interview article, a BBC reporter, Nick Garnett, gives a detailed account about how he routinely uses iPhone on the job. In explaining how his iPhone is now his vital kit, he shared five examples of how he has used it in place of a video camera, satellite truck and radio car. Garnett’s examples highlight the distinct advantages of mobile journalism: flexibility, speedy turnaround, mobility and affordability.
Garnett said that if he has learned one thing from his years in broadcasting it is “don’t carry lots of gear”. Garnett advised journalists to “remember the photographer’s maxim: the best camera is the one you’re carrying”.
An equally important advantage of mobile journalism is “safety.” At a panel discussion organized by news:rewired, Garnett says his iPhone proved essential when reporting on last year’s riots, when the media found themselves targeted as much as the police. Using just an iPhone, Garnett said he was able to report from outside a shop without drawing attention to himself.
- Need more evidence on why you should have a mobile-first mentality?
- Mobile news reporting requires more than smartphone and tools
- How to Shoot Video from a Smartphone Like a Pro
- Tools for mobile reporting (toward bottom of article)
- Teaching mobile journalism: An experiment in my digital journalism class
- How to use Storify as a reporting tool