As a former journalist, I have more than casual interest in how news is gathered, delivered, and consumed in this mobile age. Regular readers will know my passion for the truth and I have loudly argued against the notion that a “witness” is a “reporter”, capturing this in several posts. In my view, reporters are trained and experienced, whether they are delivering “information” via mobile, social networks, or by other means.
That debate continues — and so do the developments that shed light on how mobile has impacted news consumption.
A new report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project validates our belief that mobile users in different geographies consume news in different ways.
The report reveals that residents of large cities (a segment that on the whole skews younger and are more mobile than other populations) are most likely to stay informed about local topics that interest them through a combination of online and traditional sources. They are particularly likely to get local news through Internet searches, Twitter, blogs, and websites of TV and newspapers.
In contrast, small city (31 percent) and rural (34 percent) residents are more likely than those in larger cities (21 percent) and suburbs (16 percent) to rely solely on “traditional” forms of media for their local news such as local print newspapers and broadcast television.
Suburban residents are distinct in their higher dependence on local radio (likely due to longer commutes to work), while small city and rural residents stand out in their reliance on word of mouth for some types of local information.
Meanwhile, the impact of mobile on news — and everything in our lives — is profound. I therefore applaud the decision by CNN to dedicate a month to examining all the ways mobile technology is changing our lives.
Readers of my Mobilized Marketing book know that I included many insights from Louis Gump, vice president of mobile for CNN. He is behind this initiative that tells us how “mobile technology has shifted from nicety to necessity.”
Appearing across all of CNN platforms, the month-long coverage looks at the impact of mobile devices on many aspects of our daily lives including personal relationships, work habits, cultural quirks, heath, finance, and etiquette.
The upshot of all this?
Because of my background and training (12 years working as a reporter for United Press International), I believe that consumption is driving how (and how fast) information is gathered, even by “credentialed” reporters. Just look at the many mistakes that have been hailed as breaking ‘news’. The false reports on the “death” of United States Congresswoman Gabby Giffords top of the list. Yes, we as mobile subscribers want our information in real-time. But it is up to the trained journalists to follow proven practices like double sourcing to make sure that what is reported is indeed fact. And it’s up to others on social networks to not cause confusion, hysteria or something worse simply because they have used the mobile medium to instantly distribute mere hearsay.
(a longer version of this column appears here http://www.mobilegroove.com/mobile-driving-news-consumption-participation-rep...