Mobile Media: News about mobile & its applications & implications for media. Written by Jeff Sonderman with contributions from Regina McCombs. Suggest a story.

relay-turkish-riots

Web app Relay makes multimedia reporting presentable during breaking news

With Relay, a new platform for live blogging in all its forms, Randy Abramson hopes he has solved a problem for news organizations in need of a central, well-designed hub for multimedia in breaking-news situations.

Abramson is director of audio/video for the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and other U.S. government-backed broadcasting organizations. His background includes stints at Newsweek.com and the Star-Ledger.

In his current, more strategic role, Abramson has been able to step back and evaluate how news organizations overall cover breaking news. He said coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and the Washington Navy Yard shootings convinced him that news organizations are well-prepared for news gathering in terms of staffing levels and reporting tools. But the trouble, he said, is that the presentation is so often lacking, especially on tablets and smartphones.… Read more

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Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013

rivetphones

Chicago startup Rivet News Radio echoes Zite and Pandora for audio news

Text-based journalism has Flipboard and Zite. Music has Pandora. Video has YouTube. Tapping into elements of all these services for a different form of media is Rivet News Radio, the first product from Chicago-based startup HearHere Radio LLC, which launched earlier this month.

The Rivet app — iOS only for now — taps into two of the day’s biggest buzzwords in echoing other new media successes: mobile-friendliness and customizability. It occupies an aural space somewhere between podcasts that you deliberately seek out and radio news that you listen to just because it’s on and you’re trapped in traffic during your commute.… Read more

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Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013

Sporting News app takes aim at ESPN, but will compete with Flipboard, too

Digiday | Adweek

The latest incarnation of the Sporting News app enters the aggregation arena in a bid to distinguish itself from ESPN’s less open mobile products, Digiday reports. But does its play to be the “Flipboard of sports” stand a chance?… Read more

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Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013

Woman hands with smart phone and computer keyboard

Do mobile-friendly redesigns run the risk of frustrating desktop users?

Pardon my contrarianism, but I don’t do most of my web browsing via mobile on the toilet or in bed yet. I do most of my web browsing on a computer — a machine with a keyboard, mouse and no multi-touch display.

So when prominent news organizations like the Wire and NPR launch responsive websites with mobile foremost in mind, it can become a little more frustrating to visit them on my 13-inch laptop.

Take a look at this screenshot from the Wire’s homepage a few weeks ago. It’s kind of a mess, with dead black space, confusing colors and headlines gone haywire (see my annotations):

Here’s what I’m not arguing about the Wire on desktop: that addressing the needs of mobile users itself caused the desktop experience to suffer.… Read more

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Friday, Nov. 29, 2013

Press members photograph the Nokia Lumia 1020 during a Nokia event in July (Photo by Diane Bondareff/Invision for Nokia/AP Images).

What mobile journalists should have on their holiday shopping lists

Here are a few ideas for the mobile journalist’s holiday wish list as news production increasingly relies less on expensive, high-end cameras and laptops.… Read more

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Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013

Dalton Caldwell is CEO of app.net, which introduces a new app today allowing publishers to send alerts to readers' mobile phones.

With ‘newsletter for mobile,’ Dalton Caldwell wants to make your native app obsolete

Dalton Caldwell is CEO of app.net, which introduces a new app today allowing publishers to send alerts, called “Broadcasts,” to readers’ mobile phones.

“Imagine if you had to download a different email client for every email newsletter you subscribe to.” That’s the analogy offered by Dalton Caldwell, CEO of app.net, for the state of push notifications on mobile devices today.

News organizations want to reach readers on their mobile phones to alert them to breaking news or big features, but that requires push notifications, which in turn require apps. The result: If I want alerts from the New York Times, USA Today and the Chicago Sun-Times, I need to download three separate apps.

In Caldwell’s estimation, the ability to reach readers with push notifications accounts for 85 percent of the reason publishers enter the mobile-app space to begin with over settling for mobile-friendly websites.… Read more

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Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013

Google Play Newsstand, a new platform from Google for Android devices. (Google.com)

Is Google Play Newsstand a viable alternative to standalone Android apps?

Google introduced its latest platform for consuming news on Android devices today, suggesting that news organizations’ native apps aren’t serving readers well — even as those apps continue to be offered in the Google Play Store.

The new Google Play Newsstand replaces Android’s Magazine and Currents apps and promises one central home for magazine and newspaper subscriptions on smartphones and tablets.

But fear not: This has nothing in common with Apple’s much-maligned and same-named Newsstand, which is little more than a forced hub for certain news apps. Rather, the Google Play Newsstand is an app itself, a Flipboard-style reader with content from major publications like the Chicago Tribune and free blogs like the Verge. Crucially — and here’s how it separates itself from Currents — Newsstand allows for paid, subscription-based access, bringing paywall publishers like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal into the fold.… Read more

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Friday, Nov. 01, 2013

90mm

New iPad Air comes closer to all-in-one reporting device for mobile journalists

Mobile journalists — those who report on the ground and file stories at Starbucks, for instance — should be tempted by the iPad Air. While it’s unlikely to revolutionize on-the-go computing, it definitely brings us a step closer to having an all-in-one reporting device.

If you’re in the market for a new tablet or your news organization is moving in the direction of outfitting you with a tablet rather than a laptop, here are some advantages of the new iPad Air:

Weight/size

The new name reflects one of the bigger selling points of the device — it weighs just a pound. At 1.4 pounds, the last-generation iPad was already lighter than hyper-mobile laptops such as the high-end 11-inch MacBook Air (2.38 pounds) or the low-end HP Chromebook 11 (2.3 pounds).… Read more

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Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013

Unique visitor traffic for ESPN from mobile devices exceeded that for desktops in September. (Depositphotos)

ESPN’s unique mobile visitors surpass desktop: ‘We’ve seen this coming for years’

ESPN

Mobile edged desktop 47.4 million to 46.1 million in unique visitors to ESPN in September, dealing the desktop site its first loss to long-time underdog mobile.

It’s a milestone already reached by Buzzfeed. BBC News saw majority mobile traffic for two days in July. And LinkedIn expects to get there next year.

Unique visitors isn’t a perfect metric for readership, and ESPN users still spent more time overall on the desktop site than on mobile. But the fact that the number of visitors to ESPN’s apps and mobile website now surpasses visitors to the desktop site helps validate the company’s belief in mobile, said Rob King, ESPN’s senior vice president for content, digital & print media, via phone.… Read more

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Friday, Oct. 11, 2013

Esquire app on an iPad

Why news organizations shouldn’t write off tablet magazines

Jon Lund in GigaOM recently declared tablet magazines a failure.

That’s true in the sense that they haven’t substantially impacted overall magazine circulation. Using Alliance of Audited Media numbers, Lund lists the percentages that “digital replica” paid subscriptions, such as for tablets, contributes to the total circulation for 25 magazines. They ranged from a high of 38 percent of total circulation (Game Informer Magazine, a noted outlier) to 2 percent (People magazine).

Like Lund, I’d discourage any new publication from focusing solely on tablet apps, stored deep inside iPad folders or in the dreaded Newsstand, far from the dynamic reach of social media and the Web.

But sometimes it’s nice to retreat to a dark, quiet, closed-off space on a tablet. And magazine apps are contributing enough to circulation figures that we shouldn’t write them off as worthwhile components of our larger digital strategies — especially if publishers are smart about how much they invest in producing them.… Read more

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