Articles about "Mobile"


4 quick tips for attracting — and keeping — mobile readers

So your news organization now gets the majority of its pageviews through mobile devices. Now what? At the Online News Association conference in Chicago, mobile bosses from The New York Times, CNN and BuzzFeed dispensed tips for boosting mobile growth. Here are four of them.

  1. Become a metric sleuth
    One evening earlier this year, CNN saw a confusing uptick in mobile traffic, said Etan Horowitz, senior mobile editor at CNN. The editors were puzzled. Why the sudden spike? Upon further investigation, they realized the pageviews weren’t caused by any stories posted to CNN’s mobile site. Instead, they came from a video of a scary-looking baby terrorizing New Yorkers that had been shared on CNN’s social media accounts.

    Sometimes, as in the case of the “Devil Baby,” traffic spikes are one-offs, caused by popular pieces of content. But other times, they’re attributable to a pattern that can be exploited for more pageviews. For example, editors at CNN noticed a huge increase in mobile traffic during holidays, including the Fourth of July and Christmas, when people ditch their laptops and desktops, Horowitz said.

    They’ve since capitalized on this trend by posting practical how-tos during those days, including grilling guides for July Fourth and tips on which apps to download for Christmas.

    “You’re going to find these metrics that may not make sense, but once you find them, there’s a lot of power there,” Horowitz said.

  2. Make content available at high-traffic periods
    There are probably more than a few differences between The New York Times’ and BuzzFeed’s audience, but here’s one of them: BuzzFeed readers, in general, don’t wake up early.

    Whereas The New York Times sees an early-morning traffic increase as readers check in for a morning briefing, BuzzFeed’s readers tend to stop by hours later, said Alice DuBois, director of editorial content at BuzzFeed.

    “We do not have that same early-morning bump,” DuBois said. “BuzzFeed readers are not waking up at six or seven.”

    Similarly, CNN sees its mobile audience surge at night, when people have some downtime after work, Horowitz said. This means editors are inclined to publish content for their mobile audience during these optimal hours rather than saving something for the early morning.

  3. Reorganize for mobile
    When The New York Times reimagined the organization of its project development division in 2012, they decided to assign dedicated teams to tackle separate mobile assignments, said Alex Hardiman, executive director of mobile at The New York Times.

    One group handled iOS development. One was in charge of making Android products. In total, there were four separate teams, composed of individuals from various divisions throughout The Times, that each handled a different aspect of mobile development. This has allowed them to tackle projects with more speed and agility.

    BuzzFeed has adopted this approach as well, establishing separate product development teams to build a news app and create content on mobile-centric platforms like Vine and Instagram.

  4. Cultivate a mobile culture
    The vaunted page one meeting at The New York Times is no longer print-centric, Hardiman said.

    Times editors still weigh which stories merit front-page treatment, but mobile decisions are now featured prominently during the meetings.

    Mobile-first thinking has permeated CNN and BuzzFeed as well. CNN now displays the landing page for its mobile site on monitors throughout the newsroom, alongside live feeds of the desktop homepage and the broadcast channel, Horowitz said. Editors project the mobile site at meetings and make sure to let the newsroom know when CNN reaches major mobile milestones. BuzzFeed has added a mobile preview into its editing window so reporters and editors know what each story will look like on mobile before its published.

    Another tactic for getting a staff buy-in? Show skeptical journalists the raw pageview numbers that well-formatted mobile posts attract, DuBois said.

    “I always say, for this, just like anyone else, if you go to a reporter for mobile, you have to tell them what’s in it for them,” she said.

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Taking an Instagram Photo with an iPhone

Tips for broadcast journalists: When sharing breaking news on social, speed trumps beauty

Today’s multimedia journalists have to do it all on their own – report, write, edit, drive, set up live shots, and post to social media and the Web. Usually, that’s just considered a long list of stuff to do by deadline. But in breaking news coverage, the journalist has some tough choices to make.

The biggest challenge is getting the great video for the story that’s going to air on TV and being the first one to inform news consumers via social media. Here are some strategies to help serve both masters.

Let’s break down these tips into three categories:

  1. What to shoot
  2. Workflow
  3. How to distribute via social media

What to shoot

Shoot the most obvious thing news consumers will recognize right now. After all, we’re talking about breaking news and the situation may change by the time the newscast airs. This isn’t about beauty, it’s about social media speed – beat the competition and get back to using your broadcast camera for the newscast.

Because we’re talking about TV, video is a must. We want to give our followers a taste of the great stuff they’ll only see on TV later. Still photos are obviously another way to bring your followers in. Shoot one of each.

This video and photo are from a breaking news fire in the San Francisco Bay Area in June. The video gives social media followers a sense of what’s happening and confirms the reporter’s on the scene gathering information. The still photo is complementary.

Video of fire:

Photo of helicopter water drop:

breakingnewsimage

Work flow

This is where multimedia journalists have a tough decision to make. Which is the priority: social media or the newscast? I’d recommend shooting the social media stuff first. Dedicate a few minutes to it – five minutes max – and then go back to your camera.

Don’t beat yourself up over what you couldn’t get out through social media. Remember, this is more about informing news consumers now and beating the competition, not having the prettiest shot. You want your followers to know you’re there. If you’re first, they’ll catch up with you again on the newscast or on the web when you’ve got your complete video story assembled.

In the end this is about making choices. You can’t be in two places at once operating two cameras at once and doing two jobs at once. Keep this in mind: the best pictures are for your broadcast story, the first pictures are for social media.

If there’s a scenario where you’re waiting and don’t want to miss it – say a building collapse – set up the broadcast camera, lock down the tripod, and then start rolling. With the camera rolling, get out your phone to shoot your social media video and photo. Then go back to the camera.

How to distribute breaking news video via social media:

— Use your phone to gather your social media video. Skip the tablets; even an iPad mini is too big to fit in your pocket. You want to be as mobile as possible, and being able to stuff your social media newsgathering and distribution tool into your pocket is the epitome of mobility.

— Upload your videos via YouTube. Cellphones have simple, already-established workflows that make the process quicker.

— Here are 10 steps to reporting breaking news via social media

1. Shoot your video.

2. Choose send.

breakingvid1

3. Choose the YouTube option.

breakingvid2

4. Write a simple description for the YouTube video description box that you can copy and paste into a social media post later when the video is published.

breakingvid3

5. Choose SD. It’s faster, which is what we’re shooting for here.

breakingvid4

6. Choose “Public” and then Publish (top right).

breakingvid6

7. Wait for a few seconds and chose “View on YouTube.”

breakingvid5

8. Once on YouTube, choose share.

breakingvid7

9. Choose Twitter or Facebook to post there, or email to send the link back to your Web Team at the station.

breakingvid8

Simon Perez is assistant professor of broadcast and digital journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School Of Public Communications.

Related training: How and When to Shoot Video with a Smartphone Read more

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Earns Gannett

Gannett spins off, Murdoch and Time Warner square off

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Gannett will split publishing, broadcast assets: Its acquistion of broadcast companies and the 73 percent of Cars.com it didn’t own make this “the right time for a separation,” CEO Gracia Martore says in a statement. Robert J. Dickey will run the publishing company, which be called Gannett and will hold USA Today and 81 dailies, plus the U.K.’s Newsquest. (Poynter) | Just yesterday, Ken Doctor asked whether Gannett would be the next big media company to split its assets. (Nieman) | Rick Edmonds explained the rash of splits last week. Newspaper groups can “theoretically do better with management whose exclusive focus is on the particular challenges of that industry,” he wrote. (Poynter)
  2. Let us now observe Rupert Murdoch’s mating dance: Time Warner’s “unyielding stance has at least some analysts wondering if an acquisition really is inevitable,” Jonathan Mahler writes. The company is “trying to stir up doubts about the prospects of a combined entity, underscoring the potential for regulatory concerns and playing up the possibility of a culture clash between the generally liberal, purely public Time Warner, and the conservative, essentially family-run Fox.” (NYT) | Both companies announce earnings tomorrow. | Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox “is expected to make an aggressive case for merging with Time Warner Inc during its quarterly earnings call,” Jennifer Saba writes. Time Warner “will be on the hook to explain why it is better off going solo.” (Reuters) | Viacom, CBS and Disney also announce earnings this week. “All major media companies reporting this week are expected to show some weakness in their advertising business,” Amol Sharma writes. (WSJ)
  3. Mobile traffic dropped 8.5 percent during Facebook outage: And desktop traffic increased 3.5 percent. “While we certainly can’t claim that the outage was the cause of that uptick in desktop traffic, the timing is certainly notable,” Josh Schwartz writes, saying there was a “9% increase in homepage direct traffic on sites with loyal homepage followings.” (Chartbeat) | “Four takeaways from Facebook’s outage for publishers” (The Media Briefing) | Vaguely related: Google News launches a center for publishers. Here’s how it says to get the most out of it. (Google)
  4. The newspaper in the “middle” of the Gaza war: Haaretz “has the most potential for bridging across biases and political barriers” in coverage of the conflict, Gilad Lotan writes. (Medium) | “Unfortunately, Ha’aretz is struggling, squeezed both by the general decline of print newspapers and the growing rightward tilt of Israeli opinion.” (Quartz)
  5. Journalism Diversity Project relaunches: A list of journalists for bosses who say they can’t find qualified minority applicants. “Who makes the list? People of color, committing acts of journalism, and pushing the craft forward in the digital age.” (Journalism Diversity Project) | BACK IN 2011: “How a Twitter chat led to an online minority talent bank” (Poynter)
  6. The Washington Post announced its sale to Jeff Bezos a year ago today: Former owner Don Graham “has had a big burden lifted off him and he is very focused on looking forward and not back,” Slate chairman Jacob Weisberg tells Christine Haughney. (NYT) | FLASHBACK: Here’s audio of Graham’s announcement to Post staffers. (Poynter)
  7. Anchor faces charges: KTXL anchor Sabrina Rodriguez was charged with stealing wallets at a Coach store in Folsom, California. (Sacramento Bee) | “Her fiancé is behind bars on drug and arson charges.” (CBS Sacramento) | Rodriguez has taken leave. (KTXL)
  8. Leave James Risen alone: Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and Committee to Protect Journalists back a petition supporting the New York Times reporter. (CJR)
  9. “Selfie” and “bromance” will get the headlines: But true Scrabble players know the real news is that the Scrabble dictionary now has four new two-letter words. (AP)
  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Hatzel Vela will be a reporter for WPLG in Miami. Formerly, he was a reporter with WJLA in the Washington, D.C. area. Nina Judar will be beauty director for More magazine. Formerly, she was beauty director for Good Housekeeping. (Meredith Corporation) | Jessica Torres will be deputy editor of Siempre Mujer. Formerly, she was lifestyle editor there. (Meredith Corporation) | Eric Ulken will be executive director for digital strategy for Interstate General Media. Currently, he is product director at Seattletimes.com. (Philly.com) | Jeff Bergin has been named vice president of vertical strategy at Hearst Newspapers. Previously, he was senior vice president of advertising sales at the San Francisco Chronicle. (Hearst.com) | Mark Ellis has been named senior vice president of corporate sales for Time Inc. Previously, he was vice president of North American sales at Yahoo. (Time Inc.) | Kelly Cobiella has been named London correspondent for NBC News. Previously, she’d been a correspondent for both ABC News and CBS News. (TV Newser) | Job of the day: Mozilla is looking for freelance tech reporters for Mozilla Voices. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org.

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: abeaujon@poynter.org.

Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly said that Jessica Torres will be deputy beauty director of Siempre Mujer. In fact, she will be deputy editor. Read more

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Jill Abramson doesn’t return NYT’s email

mediawiremorningGood morning. Almost there. Let’s go. Read more

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Mobile trends to watch in second half of 2014; plus, a newsgathering guide to Tweetdeck

Here’s our roundup of the top digital and social media stories you should know about (and from Andrew Beaujon, 10 media stories to start your day, and from Kristen Hare, a world roundup):

— At Poynter, Adam Hochberg explores in depth Gannett’s three-year CMS overhaul to “replace the existing systems and serve every Gannett newsroom – from USA Today to KHOU-TV in Houston to the Fort Collins Coloradoan.”

Frédéric Filloux runs down three mobile trends to watch for the rest of 2014, including questions about what news sites should do about the market of Android users — which is bigger than the iOS market but less lucrative.

Joanna Geary, Twitter UK’s head of news, visited the Wall Street Journal in June to share tips on how to use Tweetdeck to gather news. Sarah Marshall turned them into a handy guide.

— Lots of executives have left Twitter lately, Mike Isaac and Vindu Goel write at The New York Times Bits blog, but the company has kept things stable in one area: its advertising team.

— More Poynter digital stories you might have missed last week: Don’t get fooled by fake hurricane photos this summer, how NPR built its Civil Rights Act interactive, and why the Tulsa World’s new sports sites link prominently to competitors.


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Google removes Guardian, BBC search results; Facebook drives 25% of Hearst’s traffic

— Google has notified The Guardian and BBC that certain articles will no longer appear in European searches, Mark Scott writes at The New York Times Bits blog. A European court ruling allows people “to ask for links to information about themselves to be removed from search results.”

— As news organizations fail to take advantage of the surge in mobile ad spending, Poynter’s Rick Edmonds says his hunch “is that getting video right and getting stronger mobile ad performance will go hand in hand for news sites.”

— Facebook drives 25 percent of traffic to Hearst magazines, up from 4 percent last year. Lucia Moses explains the publisher’s new focus on Facebook at Digiday.

— Vice Media will move to a larger Brooklyn headquarters, Laura Kusisto reports in The Wall Street Journal. The company’s $6.5 million in state tax credits will be tied to the creation of 525 new jobs in the next five years.

— Slate’s Will Oremus takes Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to task for a “non-apology apology” that’s “as incoherent as it is disingenuous.” Sandberg said the company’s emotion-manipulation study was “poorly communicated.”


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What makes a tweet likely to be retweeted? Plus, mobile ad revenue to surpass newspapers

Here’s our roundup of the top digital and social media stories you should know about (and from Andrew Beaujon, 10 media stories to start your day, and from Kristen Hare, a world roundup):

— What makes a tweet likely to be retweeted? An algorithm developed at Cornell thinks it knows, and you can test your predictive powers against it in an interactive quiz at The New York Times by Mike Bostock, Josh Katz and Nilkanth Patel.

— According to eMarketer, revenue from smartphone and tablet ads will surpass revenue from radio, magazine and newspaper ads for the first time this year, Robert Hof writes at Forbes. Mobile will still trail television and desktop/laptop ad revenue, though.

— Mashable’s Brian Ries has a roundup of fascinating Twitter data from yesterday’s U.S.-Belgium World Cup match.

— SCOTUSblog got 20,000 new Twitter followers on Monday after engaging with users who thought the Supreme Court blog’s account was an official Supreme Court account. American Journalism Review’s Cory Blair has a Q&A with SCOTUSblog publisher Tom Goldstein.

— Facebook did its icky emotion-manipulation study for the benefit of you, the customer, Megan Garber of The Atlantic reports from the Aspen Ideas Festival. Said Monika Bickert, head of global policy management: “Most of the research that is done on Facebook—if you walk around campus and you listen to the engineers talking—is all about … ‘How do we better suit the needs of the population using this product, and how do we show them more of what they want to see, and less of what they don’t want to see?’”

— Gawker editor-in-chief Max Read wants internal staff chats to be less of a “time waste,” so he’s making them public. Caroline O’Donovan explores Gawker’s new Disputations vertical at Nieman Lab.


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ComScore: Users spend 60 percent of their digital media time with mobile platforms

— ComScore data indicates users spend 60 percent of their digital media time with mobile platforms, up from 50 percent last year. And “time spent on mobile apps is higher than any other digital medium, coming in at 51 percent,” CNET’s Dara Kerr writes.

— Version 2.0 of Jason Calacanis’ Inside app is here, Capital New York’s Johana Bhuiyan writes, with the realization that the real competition is Twitter, not other mobile news aggregators: “Out with the idea of a Pandora for news; in with readers ability to ‘follow’ topics they choose.”

— The Washington Post program to provide digital access to subscribers of other papers has an early success story, Michael Depp writes at NetNewsCheck: “The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that 7,000 of its subscribers signed on for free access to the Post’s digital content after only five days and one promotional email.”

— Rumor has it the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 – and maybe a 5.5-inch version, too — will launch Sept. 19, according to MacRumors.

— WaPo removed this requirement from a social media job posting this week: “ability to explain to those twice your age what Reddit or Snapchat or Whisper or Fark is.” The Post told American Journalism Review’s Lisa Rossi that the first ad was a “draft.”

— Digiday’s Lucia Moses explains GE’s news site, Pressing, which publishes stories from Vox and other news outlets as well as custom content from Atlantic Media Strategies. Nieman Lab’s Caroline O’Donovan notes the amazing extent to which GE is promoting its brand by jumping into sponsored content and custom publishing.

— GigaOM’s Lauren Hockenson highlights Buffer’s new app, Daily, which it bills as a “Tinder for news.”


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How small screens impact photojournalism — and tips for adapting

On Sunday morning, before I got out of bed, I started reading a story from The New York Times on my phone. I found it via Twitter, naturally, and enjoyed Freda Moon’s account of a journey from Chicago to New Orleans aboard a vintage Pullman sleeper car.

But halfway through the story, I realized I had scrolled past thumbnail images without giving them any thought (see screenshot at the right). Each photo — smaller than a postage stamp — failed to grab my attention until I recognized the name of the photographer, an intern at the Chicago Sun-Times when I worked there.

That’s when I decided to go outside, pull my copy of the print Times out of its blue plastic bag, and check out the photos at a size I might be able to appreciate.

It made a big difference:

For the most part, I can appreciate text no matter where I read it. Maybe there’s something poetic about the winding journey of jumping from column to column across a double truck — particularly in the Travel section. There’s also some evidence that it might be easier to remember information read in print than on a screen.

But regardless of the medium, you can only read one line at a time. Reading on a phone doesn’t feel overwhelmingly different from reading in print, especially once you’re absorbed into a narrative. BuzzFeed visitors spent an average of more than 25 minutes on a 6,000-word story.

Photos are a different story. It’s difficult to feel absorbed in a photo on a device with a 4-inch screen. Zooming in and exploring a photo bit by bit is no way to appreciate the photographer’s vision.

I asked Alex Wroblewski, the Chicago photographer who shot last week’s Times travel section cover story, how mobile impacts photojournalism. “The pictures aren’t going to be telling the story as much,” he said by phone on the way to an assignment. “It’s more on the back burner. Art is less of a focus.”

He added: “If you want to really get in-depth you’re going to have to look at the pictures on a big screen. Hopefully what those smaller pictures do is point [readers] in that direction.”

That’s what the photos in Andrea Elliott’s and Ruth Fremson’s “Invisible Child” series did for me. Even my 7-inch tablet wasn’t big enough to do justice to Fremson’s images. When I viewed the story on my laptop, later, the images were three times wider and about 100 times more powerful.

Strategies for optimizing images for mobile

Kenny Irby, Poynter’s senior faculty for visual journalism, told me that’s the major journalistic tradeoff when you choose to consume stories via mobile devices. “There’s just no way that you can get the full appreciation of a powerful photographic narrative on a cellphone,” he said.

The trend seems inexorable: Mobile Web traffic continues to gain on desktop traffic, surpassing it at news organizations like BuzzFeed and NPR. Phones are getting bigger and bigger — even Apple is rumored to be increasing the iPhone’s screen size this year — but until we have eyewear devices that fill our entire field of vision with large graphics, smaller images will be a price we pay for the convenience of mobile devices.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t strategies for making photos more powerful on smartphones. The longstanding lesson to “crop for impact” is more relevant than ever in the mobile age, Irby says. There’s no room for users to explore a photo — especially one that isn’t zoomable — on mobile, so photos should be cropped to emphasize the most important details.

That could be a job for mobile and social media editors, but it’s also something photographers should keep in mind as they’re shooting. Identify details and magnify them. Look for powerful expressions. Understand that wide shots don’t work as well.

Irby said calls-to-action could be a way for news organizations to get readers to view photos in their full glory. They’re normally not shy to refer audiences to other formats — for example, NPR asks listeners to go online, and newspapers promote online content. So why not suggest that mobile readers return to a story on an iPad or laptop later to see particularly powerful photos at full size?

‘You’re reaching more people’

Of course, smartphones have also had a major positive impact on photography. Wroblewski pointed to the Instagram work of the Chicago Tribune’s Scott Strazzante:

“I think people are starting to realize that just because you have a camera on your phone, not everybody’s a good photographer,” Wroblewski said. The best Instagram accounts, he said, are those run by professional photographers, and many of them, like the AP’s David Guttenfelder, have been widely recognized for that work.

Wroblewski himself takes some incredible photos for mobile devices, sometimes with his iPhone, publishing them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram:

 

 

Twitter’s mobile app might not be the ideal medium for viewing detailed images, Wroblewski told me, but many of the photos he shares wouldn’t be published otherwise. What’s important is that a photo is being viewed in the first place, he said: “People see it, and that’s what it’s all about.”


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News in motion: six ways to be a good mobile editor

So you want to be a mobile editor?

Or maybe you just got the gig. Congratulations! Now what?

I’ve heard that question a lot lately from newly minted mobile editors at organizations big and small. It’s not that surprising. Mobile has been the coming future of news and information for a long time, but many news outlets only woke up to its importance in the last year.

Why? That’s easy: 50 percent. Last year, many news organizations either hit or approached the 50 percent mark in digital traffic coming from mobile. That opened many eyes. It became very clear that mobile isn’t coming — it’s here. It’s been here. Mobile is now. And news organizations need mobile editors more than ever (read on for Six Ways To Be A Good Mobile Editor).

I became The Wall Street Journal’s first — and, at the time, only — mobile editor in 2009. Mobile was different then. Legions of BlackBerries with trackballs still strode the Earth. A new book-sized gadget promised to revolutionize the news business: the black and white eReader. The shockwaves from the iOS asteroid impact had only begun to spread.

The years since have seen remarkable change. Android’s rise. The iPad. HTML5. 4G. Mini tablets. Giant phones. Google Glass. Smart watches. Mobile and tablets overtaking desktops and laptops. Even improved auto-correct that — mostly — doesn’t turn my last name into “Honda.”

The mobile editor job has evolved, too. It’s a job that must be as nimble as the changing technology, adapting as people interact with news in new ways.

In my world, the work changed from running a BlackBerry app and a first-generation mobile website to conceiving of, building and running entirely new tablet and phone apps plus creating publishing tools, global newsroom workflows and cross-platform content algorithms. Lately, I’ve been pondering hard the future of journalism amid the Internet of Things. Across five years, I went from being a solo act to leading a mobile editorial team.

There is no one set job description for a mobile editor. It will vary from organization to organization and situation to situation. The needed skills will vary, too. There are many flavors and combinations.

For most, the job will likely involve curating news and multimedia presentation on a mobile app or website, providing human editorial judgment. At the other end, it might be about overseeing content algorithms and automated publishing to phones and tablets. It could be both roles, too.

The job often involves making sure graphics and images are mobile-friendly. It could be about working with developers, designers and product folks on setting a direction and helping create new news experiences. It might involve troubleshooting tech problems or testing new mobile advances. Maybe you’ll work with mobile and tablet news aggregator partners, too. It could be deeply technical work down to coding or perhaps not that at all, instead more focused on daily news tasks like sending out breaking news push alerts.

Very often it is an advocacy job, spreading the mobile way in the newsroom since what begins with a mobile editor must end with an entire organization thinking about news on mobile and platforms beyond.

And the job could even be all of these things. Trust me, it can happen.

When I’m hiring a mobile editor — and I’ve hired more than half a dozen of them since 2010 — the first thing I look for is news judgment. That surprises folks. They expect me to rattle off a big list of tech qualifications like Homer naming the ships. Tech skills from serious coding to Photoshop chops are a big plus, but not the heart of what’s needed. Instead, I look for a high and almost instinctive comfort level with technology.

Since everyone loves a list these days, I will not disappoint:

Six Ways to be a Good Mobile Editor

  • A mobile editor needs to be a mobile user. A serious mobile user. Simply owning a smart phone isn’t enough. Because if you don’t live it, you don’t get it. If you’re not using apps and mobile websites and mobile tools yourself in your own life, it’s all but impossible to do a good job serving that audience.
  • Know you are a journalist. No question. This is a real journalism job. You may not be an “editor” in the traditional sense of the word, but you still have to understand news, to value clarity and accuracy and immediacy and relevance and speed.
  • Be a mobile tech MacGyver. The technology has been around a while, but in the big picture a lot is still new and changing very fast, especially in newsrooms. So you must be willing to dive into the guts of it when things inevitably break. More so if you don’t have lots of tech resources on call. Learn to speak the language of developers. And keep the duct tape handy.
  • Understand the vast variables. A lot can affect a mobile user’s experience with news. Screen size. Device rotation. Operating system and version. Device age and processing power. Connection quality. Location. Time of day. App versus Web. Adaptive versus responsive. It is indeed a lot to keep in your head, but serving a digital audience has come a long way since Netscape browser testing.
  • Fight for the users (yes, a Tron reference in addition to Homer and MacGyver). In this day and age, an editor does more than edit. To deliver a meaningful, beautiful, relevant, engaging mobile news experience, a mobile editor has to be there on the front lines every day understanding how the constant flow of news, the changing technology and the many needs of readers and viewers come together.
  • Be an advocate. Despite mobile being everywhere, in many newsrooms the mobile editor might be the only person who understands mobile deeply. And the only one who gets why it is so important and so critical to the future of news and journalism. So you must teach and talk and train, one person at a time if necessary. Tell them why “click here” is a bad thing to write in a world of touch screens.

Today’s mobile editors are a diverse bunch. Some are former reporters, specialists in everything from deep data to high fashion. They come from print. They come from online. They come from video.

It is a great, crazy time for mobile news. Innovation is nonstop and crops up everywhere. You’ve got aggregators and atomizers and immersives. There’s no stopping the numbers: mobile is where people are and where they will be — at least for a while. And mobile editors are often the guides, figuring it out as they go and leading the way.

So, welcome aboard, new mobile editors. It can be a scary job in a land of constant upheaval, but that’s what makes it worth doing.

David Ho is editor for mobile, tablets and emerging technology at The Wall Street Journal. He is founding editor and co-creator of the WSJ iPad app and Tablet Edition. As a reporter for Cox News and The Associated Press, Ho covered presidents, protests and the pope as well as tech, telecom and terrorism. A Poynter Institute Ethics Fellow, Ho also teaches mobile and tablet journalism at the City University of New York. Follow him on Twitter @DavidHo. Read more

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