Hello? A Smart Recourse For Outdated Publishers

I have a new line for newspaper trade associations frustrated with publishers who won’t fix crappy websites.

Be smart.

Encourage community newspapers to jump over a website mess and go all in with news reports that are built for viewing on smartphones.

That’s where the audience is.

More so, since the pandemic shook up the world.

Here’s why:

The popular headline on last week’s annual global report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford was that the United States ranked last in media trust. (The Relevance Project has an answer for that: be THE Community Forum. See previous commentaries.)

But what caught my eyes in the latest survey results was the hands-down popularity of an obvious digital solution and Reuters’ matching context on how readers want to consume news and information. Even if it wasn’t breaking news, it’s an ironclad trend that publishers should call, text and email home about.

“More widely, the use of smartphone for news (73%) has grown at its fastest rate for many years, with dependence also growing through Coronavirus lockdowns,” the institute concluded. “Use of laptop and desktop computers and tablets for news is stable or falling…”

“Fastest.”

Be smart.

With innovation, it follows that if you are stuck in past or behind the times, stand up, dust yourself off and embrace a better way by jumping ahead.

“Hey, dummy, you need a better website!”

Tired of hearing that?

Go all in on the smartphone.

It’s OK to start over.

And win, this time.

“Across countries, almost three-quarters (73%) now access news via a smartphone — up from 69 percent,” Reuters Institute stated. “Part of this is a continuation of trends which have seen the mobile phone overtake the computer as the primary access point in almost all countries, but Coronavirus may have also played a part. Governments around the world have focused on these personal devices to communicate on restrictions, to get citizens to report symptoms, and to book appointments for vaccines.”

Keep reading:
“Smartphones have become critical for keeping in touch with friends or booking takeaway food and drink — but also for discovering and consuming news. Computer news access by contrast has fallen from 49% to 46% …” (You can read the report’s Executive Summary here.)

Be smart.

Make your news report as easy to read on a smartphone as it is in print. Welcome new readers.

My bet is your non-readers who use a smartphone to access news make up a much larger group than traditionalists clinging to print.

Associations, keep helping your members become Relevant with technology while attracting that huge audience glued to the smartphone.

Zero in there.

It could probably help the trust factor as well.

-Tom Silvestri

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