Megan Taylor

front-end dev, volunteacher, news & data junkie, bibliophile, Flyers fan, sci-fi geek and kitteh servant

The future of journalism in your pocket

A few days ago Mindy McAdams wrote a post about how she uses her iPhone and what that could mean for journalism.

Her questions for journalism:

  • If someone has all the videos and quality radio news she could ever find time to listen to (or watch) right in her pocket, how can anything even remotely like the newspaper compete with that? The newspaper as it was, in the heyday of the 30 percent profit margins, had something for everyone. Now the Internet-enabled phone provides that.
  • Will the traditional print news organization come up with programming, instead of random and disconnected stories? I don’t mean it has to be audio and video, but it would be something with an identity, like a show or a series. The closest thing I can think of that’s not radio is David Pogue — a brand unto himself.
  • Breaking news is a commodity — you’ll never pay the bills with that. Hard news is not always breaking news, but how should it be packaged or bundled — to adapt to the phone?

I’m not sure mobile phones have quite reached the level of “world in my pocket,” (speed, coverage, screen/keyboard sizes are still issues) but that’s not the point. If we [media organizations] sat around until the right phones were created, we’d be in even deeper poo than we already are. Realize right now that everyone will soon have an Internet-enabled phone (or similar pocket device) and the technology will keep pace with the demand.

Will the traditional print news organization come up with programming…?

Do traditional print news orgs still exist? Don’t they all have Web sites now? Aren’t they all scrabbling to save themselves online?

We’re not at the beginning of the news revolution anymore. We’re in the middle, and the organizations that have made it this far are very different from what they were 10 years ago. The ones that make it through will be the ones who drop this “traditional print news organization” concept and think about what people are reading, watching, hearing, buying, doing, playing…

Hard news is not always breaking news, but how should it be packaged or bundled — to adapt to the phone?


Mindy suggests that a packaged identities can be a part of this and I agree. After all, isn’t that what we’re doing by building personal brands and using social media? Isn’t that why you follow someone on Twitter or Facebook? Why you subscribe to a blogger’s RSS feed?

I hadn’t thought of this before, because I’ve been thinking more technically about how information can be packaged for multiple mediums.

But what if we break the media company identity down into a series of smaller, bite-sized packages?

Company branding is already being broken down to the individual level. Personal branding is all the rage. Will news packages be branded to the individual? Or be yet another subset of the company branding? Or will the individual brand dominate the other two?

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