Thursday, September 25, 2008

HOW PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY TALK ABOUT NEWS

Maegan Carberry, Editor & Publisher - Karen North, director of the online communities master's degree program at USC's Annenberg School of Communication, notes that research shows teenagers believe text messaging is the form of interaction they own, while "only their parents and teachers use email."

Karen explains further, "Gen Y has already shown that they prefer and 'trust' news and information from their friends rather than from expert sources. Add to this that, as is true with pretty much all generations, Gen Y has created their own slang, but in this case, it is in the form of the communications technology and it's language and code rather than spoken slang. The adoption of mobile as the language of this generation, and the ability of mobile to transmit short messages virally and almost instantaneously, makes it more difficult to share expert or even aggregated news, and instead may lead Gen Y to rely on viral news sound bites rather than news as we have known it.". . .

[According to] research findings from Northwestern's Media Management Center, many younger members of Gen Y expressed that it's just too much to follow along with news incrementally. We've lost our sense of momentous occasions in context. Editors now need to accentuate key points and distinguish major news from drivel - with the ADD set in mind.

As my friend Marc Mitchell, former operating officer of UrbanDaddy.com and founder of Celbrifantasy.com and other online content businesses, pointed out to me this weekend after he attended yet another mobile media conference: The kiddos are looking for instantaneous results.

"They consume news and info faster," he said. "They expect it to be delivered faster. It's more about speed than depth of knowledge. They want the headline, not the story.". . .

Mark suggested, however, that if executed properly, news organizations will be able to gain new users on mobile devices and use the medium as an entry point to their more substantive offerings online.

"It's less about altering content, but rather to make the experience enjoyable for the user," he said. "News organizations shouldn't change their content or the way they report. It should just be easier for people to get the content. They'll have to work to make sure that they are fast, usable and enjoyable via mobile devices."

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