More newsrooms go mobile-first

The process of transformation continues in newsrooms across the planet. I remind my Columbia University journalism students that when they first enter the job market in 2023, they’ll likely work for a boss who may still not be totally comfortable functioning in a multiplatform media world. While a majority of those in the audience continue to consume news and information on mobile devices, much content is still conceptualized and prepared for consumption on larger, more horizontal platforms — either the larger screen of a desktop or laptop computer or, in some cases (although thankfully fewer these days!), for print. But most members of the audience are scrolling their way vertically on their phones, expecting more dynamic engagement with audio and video, not just static photos or graphics.

While there has been tremendous progress over the past year in gearing content to mobile devices, it’s still a challenge — one that will determine how successfully media houses across the planet can become mobile-first newsrooms, leading to more creation of stories crafted for mobile consumption, which in turn lead to higher retention levels and, of course, more subscribers.

In 2023, I forecast that perhaps even those newsrooms that have delayed moving to mobile-first strategies will do so. This may require two important actions:

— Restructuring the newsroom to incorporate more content managers whose main job is to follow stories, updating them as needed and using more video and audio as accessories to enhance content.

— Incorporating new blood into the mix. The majority of those making news content decisions should be digital natives. They understand that, in a mobile world, we don’t follow editions — we concentrate on stories and how to keep them constantly updated for those mobile readers who lean forward into their phones at all times.

I see 2023 as the year where more titles become mobile-first content providers, facing head on the challenges required to achieve that goal.

Mario García is founder and CEO of García Media.

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