Week 11: Mobile Journalism

Mobile-cellular penetration rates stand at 96% globally; 121% in developed countries; and 90% in developing countries.

Mobile-broadband subscriptions have climbed from 286 million in 2007 to 2.3 billion by the end of 2014

  • This reflects an average annual growth rate of 40%, making mobile broadband the most dynamic ICT market.

Source: UN’s Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D))

Mobile news consumption:

Reuters research 2015: Digital News Consumption

  • Based on a YouGov survey of over 20,000 online news consumers in the US, UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Brazil, Japan and Australia.
  • “This year’s data shows a quickening of the pace towards social media platforms as routes for audiences, together with a surge in the use of mobile for news, a decline in the desktop internet and significant growth in video news consuption online.”

Source: http://www.digitalnewsreport.org

Reuters 2014

  • The use of smartphones and tablets has jumped significantly in the past year, with fewer people using their computers for news. More than a third of online news users across all countries (39%) use two or more digital devices each week for news and a fifth (20%) now say their mobile phone is their primary access point.
  • The number of people paying for digital news has remained stable over the past 12 months, although we have seen a significant switch to more valuable ongoing digital subscription in most countries.
  • Researches have found that as many people acquire more devices they consume more news in aggregate (time spent) – but also access news more often throughout the day.

Increase in mobile news access

  • “On average people use a small number of trusted news sources on the mobile phone. The average across all countries is 1.52 per person, significantly fewer than on a tablet or computer. We also find that, even though 70% of smartphones users have a news app installed on their phone, only a third of respondents actually use them in a given week, reinforcing the difficulty many news brands have in cutting through on this crowded and very personal advice.”

What’s the difference between the internet and the world wide web?

The internet is a big collection of computers and cables.

  • The large container and the web is a part within the container.
  • “the net is the restaurant, and the web is the most popular dish on the menu.”

The world wide web is a massive collection of digital pages

Web browsing .v.  apps:

Making money out of news content increasingly difficult when people are browsing the whole wide web on desktops.

“In a multitasking world where no one medium struggles to get anyones full attention, bite-sized news spoon-fed through controlled gateways on mobile applications proved increasingly popular.” (Jones and Salter, 2012:122)

The 2nd Chance: Apps: (Jones and Salter, 2012)


  • Apps use the net- but not the web
  • Closed ‘back-end’ systems
  • Fast
  • Accessible/user friendly
  • Enough interactivity- but still quick and easy
  • ‘Curated’ content
  • People pay

Web browsing

  • Uses the web
  • Open ‘front-end’ system
  • Flexible
  • More ‘fiddly’ on mobile
  • Find it yourself
  • People want it free

How many apps?

In the UK

  • 29 apps on a smart phone on average
  • 10 of them used in the last month
  • 9 of them were paid apps

Source: http://services.google.com/fh/files/misc/omp-2013-uk-en.pdf

Getting mobile journalism working:

News organisations looking to integrate mobile phones within standard practice.

Not only creating content with mobiles but also publishing directly from mobile.

Mobiles enable the field of fact checking and faster publishing of breaking and involving stories.

Practicalities: Kit and Compatibility:

What you need-

  • Media capture and editing capabilities
  • Mobile network and/or Wi-fi, Bluetooth
  • GPS
  • Battery life
  • User-friendliness- easy to use, efficient, reliable


Quality of visuals/sounds

Battery life

Uploading times

User interface

Trying to write on a tiny keyboard

Putting assignments online is time consuming

Sending data is very expensive (one file cost £88.72)

Local mobile journalism:

According to Google research:

  • Smartphones help users navigate the world. Appearing on smartphones is crucial for local businesses.
  • 87% of smartphone users look for local information on their phone and 76% take action as a result, such as making a purchase or contacting the business.

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