The way we find, consume and share news is evolving all the time with smartphones fast becoming the number one way in which to keep up to date with what is happening in the world.
A new report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism reports that in 2015 we have already witnessed a “quickening of pace” towards what it describes as “social and mobile news”.
In line with that, there has been a fall in the use of the internet via traditional desktop machines and a massive surge in the growth of video news consumption online.
The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, in its paper titled Digital News Report 2015, goes so far as to say that “we see the smartphone more clearly as the defining device” for digital news.
Its analysis of trends suggests that this device has had a “disruptive impact” on how news is consumed, what format it is presented in and the business models that underpin its generation and dissemination.
Interestingly, it points specifically towards Facebook as a big player in the changing landscape of news, claiming it will play an influential role in “finding, sharing and discussing news”.
Additionally, Facebook-owned apps like Instagram and WhatsApp are having a particular resonance with young mobile users, producing a potential, untapped source for producing and sharing news.
Increasingly, the study notes, competition for a global audience will become more intense, with all the big players – old and new – battling it out for a large slice of the international market share.
The names cited by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism as being the most influential global news providers include relative newbies like BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post and “old stalwarts” like the Guardian, CNN and the BBC.
A lot of the upheavals are a direct consequence of the internet and its revolutionary zeal – this technology has been the most influential construct in recent times. With regards to news, it has flattened obstacles to distribution and inspired providers to innovate.
What has been desired is a magic formula that not only attracts a wider readership, but also boosts revenue streams. While there is still a lot of work to be done in this area, there are plenty of opportunities ahead.
Other notable changes in the way that people read news include a move from traditional ways of accessing content. Presently, the majority of people find online news from “familiar and trusted brands”, but figures show this is changing.
“The starting point to a news journey is less likely to be a brand homepage and increasingly likely to be via a search engine, a social network, email, or the lockscreen of a smartphone,” the authors of the report state.
“We see significantly fewer people accessing the front page of a news website where a list of stories is displayed. More people are going directly to stories via a side door such as search or social media.”