The world in my pocket: Thoughts on the iPhone

Today I was taking care of some iPhone business — updating apps, adding and deleting videos, cleaning up the podcasts. As I was noticing a few things, some questions occurred to me about how we will make journalism relevant and appealing.

What I noticed:

  • Because I keep my full iTunes music library on my old iPod, there’s plenty of space for videos on my 16 GB iPhone. I am converting about 10 hours of video, and it doesn’t come close to filling the capacity. Watching video on the iPhone is sweet: The 3.5-inch (diagonal) display has 480 x 320 resolution. It even sounds fine without using the earbuds.
  • The new NPR Mobile app (free) lets me listen to recent NPR programs without subscribing to anything. Got wireless? Punch up Fresh Air, or any other radio show you like.

Questions about journalism:

  • If someone has all the videos and quality radio news she could ever find time to listen to (or watch) right in her pocket, how can anything even remotely like the newspaper compete with that? The newspaper as it was, in the heyday of the 30 percent profit margins, had something for everyone. Now the Internet-enabled phone provides that.
  • Will the traditional print news organization come up with programming, instead of random and disconnected stories? I don’t mean it has to be audio and video, but it would be something with an identity, like a show or a series. The closest thing I can think of that’s not radio is David Pogue — a brand unto himself.

Breaking news is a commodity — you’ll never pay the bills with that. Hard news is not always breaking news, but how should it be packaged or bundled — to adapt to the phone? This would not be headlines. I’m thinking it might be driven by still photos, maybe sort of like the Daylife covers, but more photojournalistic.

How do you use your phone for daily information and pass-the-time activities?

6 Comments on “The world in my pocket: Thoughts on the iPhone

  1. I don’t find myself using my Blackberry phone for info too often, because my job and lifestyle mean that I’m always in front of a computer.

    However, I do get public transportation info as text messages (delays, lines down).

    I use Google Maps whenever I go somewhere new – NYC is confusing and I have no sense of direction.

    I have Google Reader and the AP News apps, for boredom emergencies, but don’t use them too often.

    I use an iPod Touch for music because the Blackberry volume doesn’t go loud enough to override the train rumble on my commute. I listen to a ton of NPR podcasts, This American Life, and some others. I haven’t yet explored video on the Touch.

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  3. Mindy,
    I always see fresh, interesting insights on your blog. I find the ‘programming’ concept intriguing as well as the idea for using photos/headlines to pull readers in from a phone.


  4. You probably remember Naples News’ Studio 55. It used to be video- and episode-centric, but it looks a lot different than it used to be, so maybe the idea or execution of a series or show fell short.

    I’m fan of the ABC World News Webcast, but that’s an example of television coming to the Internet. Maybe T.V. people have a shorter distance in taking their product to the Internet than print journalists.

  5. I just bought an ipod touch instead of a new computer and I find that I get everything I want right there: news, video, social networking, netflix, everything. The other day I wanted the score to the Cavs/Pistons game. Instead of turning on the TV or going out it in the rain to pick up the paper I found it fast on the ipod. Got the score fast, got the kids to school, exercised and went to work. No time for TV or the paper. Its changing the way people interact with media: on my time not theirs. The platform of the future. Probably with get an iphone next.

  6. Pingback: The future of journalism in your pocket | Megan Taylor: Web Journalist

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