Mobile news content is catching on

The number of people accessing news content through tablets is on the rise, according to a report from the Pew Research Center.

The report found that 50 percent of U.S. adults own a smartphone or tablet, and 66 percent of those users get news through their devices.

The report also suggested that owning a tablet is linked to increased news engagement, as 41 percent of tablet owners reported spending more than an hour a day accessing news content through their devices. It also found that a majority of tablet users read in-depth articles on their devices.

The report’s findings all point to a shift in the way news is being consumed. As tablets become increasingly common in households, media organizations have to offer content that is viable on multiple platforms. Some of the possibilities of these new platforms have already developed, like newspapers monetizing apps, but I’m curious to see what the long term implications of this shift will be.



Downtown construction for the streetcar continues

Georgia State commuters can expect more traffic downtown as construction for the Atlanta Streetcar Project increases.

Construction for the project is currently taking place on Luckie Street, Edgewood Avenue, Auburn Avenue, and several other streets around the Georgia State campus. According to the city, all of Luckie Street will be closed until the end of July.

The project is expected to cost $69 million and is being funded by the City of Atlanta, the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, MARTA, and federal funding.

The streetcar will run in a loop from Andrew Young International Blvd. to Jackson Street and will offer transit to Centennial Olympic Park, the World of Coca-Cola, and other popular attractions.

While the streetcar will serve the Georgia State area, students have expressed mixed feelings about the project.

Elizabeth Wilkes, a Georgia State senior, said, “It makes my commute back to my apartment a lot longer. It doesn’t seem like its added anything to the infrastructure of MARTA…but I’ll probably try it.”

Dante Sul, a Georgia State junior, said, “I might use it, but if I’m around campus I’ll probably just use MARTA.”

The streetcar is expected to be ready for operation by May.

Too many journalists, not enough jobs

Some experts say journalism schools are getting too big, while the industry is getting smaller.

Adrian Monck, director and head of communications and media for the World Economic Forum, criticized schools for encouraging too many students into a field with not enough job openings.

While there are around 50,000 journalism students in the U.K., Monck estimated there are only about 300 entry-level jobs in mainstream media.

Jeffrey Dvorkin, director of the University of Toronto’s journalism program, also blasted schools for not developing their curriculum for the digital age.

“The professoriate is old compared with the state of the media culture now. People came into the journalism academia just before the digital disruption in the newsroom. As a result they are still teaching a curriculum valued in the 1990s but not now”, Dvorkin said.

Monck and Dvorkin seem to be echoing the sentiments of many others who teach journalism: there simply aren’t many jobs, and the skills that they teach today might be irrelevant tomorrow.


More newsrooms going digital


An increasing number of journalists are favoring digital mediums to break news, according to the latest Oriella Digital Journalism Study.

The study surveyed 550 journalists in 15 countries and found that a third of them had a “digital first” policy. The study also found that a fifth of journalists surveyed considered citizen journalism as credible as mainstream reporting.

More news outlets are tapping into the mobile and tablet markets as well, with 40 percent of responders now offering their content through apps. Journalists using social media for sources has also become more common, but the majority still prefer more conventional means of gathering news sources.

The statistics are hardly surprising and confirm that news outlets are trending toward digital and multiplatform content delivery, as well as embracing content created by citizen journalists.


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Paywalls begin to pay off


Recent trends indicate that digital newspaper publishers may have finally found profitable pay models for their content, according to the latest Digital News Report from the Reuters Institute at University of Oxford.

Many publishers have been experimenting with paywalls on their digital content, which seemed like a tough sell for readers used to getting the content for free. However, the study shows that the number of U.S. readers paying for digital news content jumped from 9 to 12 percent since 2012. The same trend is happening in Europe as well, with France and the U.K. seeing a 5 percent increase.

Publishers have developed several methods for generating revenue, including paywalls for “premium” content or allowing access to a certain number of articles before making readers pay. Requiring readers to pay for all or most of a sites content resulted in a 85 to 95 percent drop in site traffic, but sites using less strict models only lost 5 to 15 percent.

With an increasing number of readers accessing their news through digital publishers on multiple platforms, it seems very possible that the use of such pay models will soon become standard. While many readers may not welcome the end of completely free digital content, publishers seeing increasing revenue will.


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Blog Purpose

The purpose of this blog is to discuss and analyze stories and trends in digital journalism. I am a journalism student at Georgia State University.