How Smartphones Have Changed News Creation and Consumption

The Impact of Smartphones on News Consumption
If you’re looking for news about any topic, where do you go? If your answer was “online” you are part of the vast majority who rely on the internet for their information. Go back to the pre-internet world and answer my question again. Would you have answered “TV” or maybe an equal form of traditional media? There’s a high probability you would. For the Net Generation, or Digital Natives if you will, the concept of living in a world with no access to the Internet whatsoever is difficult to comprehend. This generation has become somewhat dependent of online resources.

The Internet’s best companion in its global journey is the undefeatable smartphone. Cellular phones have gone through an incredible development: from being large and bulky to becoming conveniently small and thin, and not to mention the improvement of the displays, adding touchscreen interfaces and other features. But aside from technological advancement, smartphones have had a major influence on the creation of news.

The Impact of Smartphones on News Creation
News creation has also been affected by smartphones. For example, news channels used to deal with time-related issues; meaning if something happened on the other side of the world, news channels didn’t have complete access right away. Now global information is available instantaneously, in large part because of smartphone.

These are a few factors that allowed news creation to change:

–          Accessibility: If you’re a smartphone owner, you are well aware of the capabilities of the device. You can access any app or website by simply touching and clicking the display. It requires a minimum effort to handle a smartphone, which means that different age groups are able to operate one.

–          Mobility: Users are very likely to carry their smartphones on them at any time. This allows them to take photos or videos on the spot, in case something newsworthy happens. Because they are already at the scene, news channels can benefit from smartphones as they no longer have to send news reporters to every news scene.

–          Connectivity: The speed of data transfers has improved tremendously over time. This augmentation has affected the creation of news significantly improves the speed at which information, pictures and videos are shared.

–          Social media: Social media and smartphones go hand in hand. That said, where do users upload most of their content to? Their social networks. There are a large number of mobile apps available for both iOS and Android phones. Apps like Facebook and Twitter are well-known to be part of a person’s basic smartphone app collection. The fact that content is continuously updated in real-time adds value to its newsworthiness. In that regard, the content has a big chance of going viral.

–          Viral content: If news goes viral, it’s only a matter of time before the media starts noticing these trending topics. This results in alternate media resources in comparison to the pre-smartphone period. For example, you can now go on Twitter and enter a hashtag followed by a topic in Twitter’s search engine: #trendingtopic. In most cases, the search results are strongly related to the topic you’ve entered and could include detailed information provided by individuals at the scene.

In terms of global news incidents, news channels tend to depend heavily on viral content due to its firsthand content and availability. We now have access to content that we wouldn’t have if it weren’t for the smartphone.

As you can tell, the way news is created today differs from the way it was done before the emergence of smartphones. Smartphone owners are today’s news creators. What does this mean for the future of news creation? I would love to hear your thoughts about this in the comments!