Publishers are turning their attention to the cultural issue of getting their reporters and other staff to think mobile-first.
On Friday, The New York Times said that it would temporarily bar employees, both inside and outside editorial, from accessing its desktop homepage while at the newspaper’s New York City headquarters. The thinking: With 47 percent of time spent with NYT’s digital content coming from mobile, staffers should be more sensitive to the needs of mobile readers.
“There’s a disconnect between the creation of our journalism and the consumption of it,” said assistant masthead editor Clifford Levy, who spearheaded the experiment. “This is vitally important for us.”
That thinking has become increasingly commonplace among publishers, which have seen mobile traffic overtake that of desktop. The result: Publishers are ginning up new ways to infuse mobile-first thinking into their content-creation strategies and overall organizations.
For many publishers, the most popular solution is to offer writers mobile previews of their stories both before and after publishing. This gives them a clearer idea of how their stories will look on mobile screens and reminds them of what the primary content-consumption experience actually is.
“That’s crucial,” said USA Today Sports content director Jamie Mottram, adding that the feature was a result of a mobile-only experiment For The Win ran in mid-2013.
But building mobile-specific tech can only do so much if there isn’t a mobile-focused culture around it. Quartz, which also built mobile-specific tools into its CMS, has also gone as far as to build mobile into its overall editorial strategy. Its stories are written “to be sucked off the screen of a smartphone in a swaying subway train,” according to its style guide.
“The result, I think, is that when writers picture their audience, they’re picturing people on phones, and that mental shift alone makes a big difference,” said Quartz vp of product Zach Seward.
It’s not easy, however, for legacy media companies to make this kind of shifts, particularly at a place like the Times, where many reporters are more interested in getting their stories on the front page of the newspaper than how they look on a smartphone screen.
CNN, which got 73 percent of its traffic from mobile readers last weekend, has also gone a long way toward putting mobile front and center by starting each day with an 8 a.m. mobile news meeting and pushing editorial staff to think less about homepage placement and more about how well their stories spread on social networks, which are dominated by mobile consumption.
“People might hang onto desktop the same way they hang onto print, so they might need something more severe than a suggestion,” said CNN digital editor-in-chief Meredith Artley.
The move to block desktop access to the homepage has already borne fruit. Levy said that even before the experiment officially began, a Times reporter noticed some discrepancies in how a series of articles looked on desktop and mobile screens.
“The more people looking at our site on their phones, the more things like that we can spot,” he said.
The Washington Post invests in climate coverage as its team expands to over 30 journalists
The Post's climate team continues to expand as the publisher makes big bets on the beat drawing younger audiences.
Inside one media company’s strategy to monetize the Fifa World Cup
Soccer media business Footballco has spent most of 2022 trying to make hay while the sun is shining.
Publishers continue to evaluate cost-cutting in Q4, with economic and budgetary pressures mounting
The wave of cost-cutting measures in Q3 is still flowing into Q4, with publishers under pressure to keep expenses down at a time of continuing economic uncertainty and budget planning.
SponsoredHow brands are measuring incremental performance on CTV
Connected TV is unique among other advertising channels because it combines linear television’s storytelling capabilities with digital marketing’s targeting and measurement. As more marketers leverage CTV advertisements to reach relevant and engaged audiences, they also want to understand the real value they are generating with their investment. Incrementality reporting and measurement allow advertisers to measure […]
Member ExclusiveMedia Briefing: Publishers’ Q3 earnings reports show promise, but not without sacrifice
Publishers' third quarter earning reports are in.
A new entrant in the data-driven linear TV measurement space aims to fill a gap left by Microsoft’s Xandr
As Xandr shuts down its Clypd platform, datafuelX's M3 SaaS product aims to solve some of the multi-currency, multi-platform problems with investing in convergent TV today.