Newspapers Exploring Wireless News Possibilities

Newspapers are beginning to experiment with the question of wireless data, though it seems they’re not entirely sure what to do when they go wireless. So far, it sounds like they’re just repurposing regular news content in a simplified format for wireless devices. While that’s a start, it doesn’t seem to really be taking much advantage of the medium. Instead of just focusing on repurposing the same news, they should be looking at how people use their mobile devices, and build a product that focuses on that. It shouldn’t just be viewed as a small computer screen, but a different platform altogether with different opportunities. For example, mobile users are more likely to be interested in less news, but more timely, more customized alerts. While simply repackaging the same content must be tempting from the publishing side, it’s important to see what the user wants.

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Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Local News

As an example, when I was in charge of building the wireless applications for (1999-2001), we began with simplified text versions of the news, but our goal was to work towards a higher level of customization. We succeeded in allowing users to customize the news topics in which they were interested, and see those choices first. At the time, the technology was not in place for us to target SMS headline feeds based on user specified keywords. Neither was the tech available to use LBS to default to local news based on where the caller was at the time. Images should be available, but only on demand to conserve bandwidth, and video can even be used sparingly. News is not the sexiest of content, but it IS often very timely, which makes it well suited for mobile consumption.

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