Technology is feeding new branches of the news industry and changing our news consumption habits.
The advancement of the internet, social media, location-based services and technology found in high-tech portable devices is forcing the news industry to rapidly evolve from its print-based origins into a constantly updated, user-sourced multimedia fanfare.
User-sourced news aggregation companies - including the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Digg and StumbleUpon - are thriving in the digital era, becoming some of the most visited sources of news on the web. These sites have become popular because people now expect to have the most relevant news articles delivered to them instantly. They want to consume the best news from multiple sources, specifically tailored to their tastes.
A study by Pew Research Center, published on March 15, revealed that 60 percent of Americans get their news from online sources.
A March 16 study by Consumer Electronic site Retrevo showed that social media and social networks are replacing traditional news forms such as newspapers and radio. Sixteen percent of social media users said that they check into their social media accounts when they wake up to get their morning news instead of checking traditional news sources.
Mobile phone news application start-ups such as My6Sense point to the future of the news industry.
My6sense is a 'digital intuition' app that completely personalizes news for consumers. It compiles RSS feeds, tweets, and online blog articles - intuitively ranking them according to your browsing habits. Within a few days (and without any explicit intervention on your behalf) the application optimizes the content to fit your specific tastes; the most relevant and interesting information is automatically displayed at the top.
Emerging mobile news trends also point to a rise in on-demand location-based news services. In January, Canada's free daily newspaper, Metro, partnered with location-based social networking site Foursquare to provide location-specific editorial content within the social networking site.
Larger-format mobile reading devices will also change consumers' news consumption habits. These devices provide an ideal format for news delivery. Not only are their screens large enough to offer comfortable, full-page reading, but they are also capable of displaying rich interactive multimedia news "experiences."
Wired is just one of many companies trying to redefine the boundaries of news media. In February the company unveiled their vision of a digital magazine; Wired is attempting to bridge the gap between high-gloss printing, stunning high-res photography, and the younger generation's desire to be constantly connected with real-time feeds, video, animation and full interactivity.
Augmented Reality will also filter into news media delivery trends. In 2009, Pranav Mistry, a creative inventor from MIT, showed off the next generation of mobile computing devices - a wearable gestural interface called SixthSense. He showed how traditional newspapers could be used with Augmented Reality technology to show live videos of breaking news and overlay current weather patterns on a printed map of America.
Technology continues to inform the ways in which we consume news. If news media companies want to prosper in the digital future they will have to learn how to embrace these technologies and offer their consumers informed, relevant and well researched news in a format that fully engages their readers.
Pew Research's State of the news media report: http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1523/state-of-the-news-media-2010
A video of Wired's digital magazine can be viewed here: http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/02/the-wired-ipad-app-a-video-demonstration/Reuse content