In years gone by, people regularly had newspapers delivered to their homes. Sunday morning editions were filled with coupons and expanded sections for leisurely reading. However, in recent years, cities like Denver, Seattle and San Francisco have watched as established publications closed down operations. The public is increasingly reading or watching news online.
For American adults under 30, social media has far surpassed newspapers and matched TV as a primary source of daily news, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
Additionally, apps exist for a range of publications, where one can scan headlines or watch streaming live coverage. However, coverage of these live events, such as the selection of the Pope last March, continue to land on social media sites like YouTube just as quickly as they are reported on by traditional media outlets.
As the headlines report more frequently about recognizable names like Readers Digest on the decline, there are signs of hope in new media business models. The New Orleans Times-Picayune has seen its audience grow in recent years even as it ceased print editions and gone entirely digital. The New York Times, among other publications, charges for its online content. The Huffington Post and AllThingsD emerged in recent years without having print versions.
Beyond sharing stories on Twitter, reporters and even the key figures they cover are more frequently using social media to reach their audiences. For example, when Cory Booker, now a U.S. Senator, was the mayor of Newark, N.J., he took to Twitter during Superstorm Sandy to connect directly with those in his community.
So while news outlets continue to evolve on the back of social media’s constantly changing landscape, the opportunity and ways to connect with that information is something that continues to evolve. The speeds of 4G LTE wireless networks means smartphone and tablet users don’t have to stop and consider whether or not they have the patience to wait for a video from the evening news to load. The capabilities of those smartphones and tablets also mean that the public is able to capture and share the stories themselves in near real-time and influence the news for vast communities in profound ways.
It is truly an interactive world. Smartphones, tablets, and the networks that power them are the key to participation.