Lecture Notes: Mobile Media

WEEK 5 – OCT 24

  • Mobile media is becoming the number 1 source for news, which can be seen in a graph that shows that in the middle of 2015, mobile use had crossed over computer use when it comes to news source.
  • When it comes to access to news, a different graph shows that social media crossed over printed newspaper in 2014.

Type of video per platform:

  • short-texted videos are the most popular ones and you see them the most on Facebook, which has a tool that allows the video to start playing on mute the moment it appears on your feed

Duration of videos per platform:

  • the majority of online videos last between 1 to 4 minutes
  • the shortest videos are the most popular ones on Instagram, as this social network is known for its short clips


  • 16:9 provides a much wider, bigger space to work with – it’s more cinematic, creating a more panoramic view
  • square is better for close-ups and personal perspectives

Video content:

  • Politics – 24%
  • Lifestyle and celebrities – 22%
  • (…)
  • Science and tech – 5%
  • Sports – 2%


  • Health and Education – 23%
  • (…)
  • Business – 18%


  • Lifetyle and Celebrities – 26%
  • (…)
  • Art and Culture – 18%


  • Politics – 37%
  • (…)
  • Health and Education – 17%


  • Politics, Health and Education, Business – 20%

Sub-topics: Trump (14%), Kids (10%), Food (7%), Fashion (7%), etc.

Analytics: a 21st century tool

Analytics is a modern and powerful tool that is being used by newsrooms all over the globe to get inside information on what the most popular topics are and what their readers want, helping them grow their audiences, increase engagement and improve newsroom workflows.

Nowadays, digital media organizations are actually developing their own forms of editorial analytics in order to get insight into their page views, number of clicks, most popular topics, etc. Tools such as Stela, an instrument created by The New York Times which collects data form multiple sources and centralizes it in one place, help news organizations achieve their own personal goals.

In fact, the 21st century obsession over analytics and data has led to the creation and emergence of people whose task is to grow and develop audiences, with job titles like Audience Development Editor and Audience Engagement Editor. These developments are useful in pursuance of gaining a stronger understanding of how people consume, share and discuss their context.

However, the use of analytics has made news organizations obsess over the data, the numbers and graphs, changing the working methods to make sure the content that’s being published gets the widest reach possible. Most often than not, newsrooms rely on clickbait to get their page views up and advertise the most popular stories instead of the most important ones.

Photo by OSO Web Studio

Filter bubbles: can we escape them?



In the last decade, social media has transformed itself – the modern society revolves around social networks, which are now the majority of the population’s primary news sources. People can get their daily dose of updated information simply by scrolling through their Facebook feed, going through publications of pages that they follow.

This has led to the emergence of concepts such as filter bubbles and echo chambers. Websites like Facebook, Twitter and Google analyze the user’s past activity and make assumptions by selecting information based on this analysis and presenting it to the user. This way, he’s presented with information he’s genuinely interested in. On the other hand, this selection of ideas can cause isolation from opposing viewpoints, as the user only has access to views he agrees with.

“(…) the internet is highly effective at bringing like-minded groups of people together — and terrible at creating space for differently minded people to debate.” (via The Verge)

As an attempt to exemplify this, I’m going to take my personal case. When scrolling through my Facebook feed, I often come across posts by Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, fashion bloggers, lifestyle magazines and the mandatory news websites – BBC and The Guardian. By analyzing my own case, I can tell that I am more inclined to read about fashion, lifestyle and general news, which means I stay away from other areas of knowledge and culture, like sports and economics, for example.

However, I believe it’s important for someone to have at least superficial knowledge of most areas of interest, so the solution would be to read more about topics that I usually wouldn’t go for.

Filter bubbles are the most noticeable when it comes to politics, hence why this concept was so popular during the 2016 US Presidential elections. The conformation of someone with a certain political view means that most of the time they only interact with people who share the same view as them and this will consequently lead to their isolation from other perspectives and viewpoints. To get the best point of view possible, especially in politics, a person should be aware of every single perspective and interact with people with opposite viewpoints. Only this way will someone make the best decision, having in mind every factor that might affect their lives.

How do digital developments change journalism?

The development of the internet and the digital world has transformed modern journalism in a revolutionary way, changing the way people access the news and increasing the news publishing speed.

Nowadays, everyone can be a journalist – people can capture and save content with their smartphones, a much more practical tool than a camera. This has led to the emergence of self-publishing platforms that are possible due to blogging websites – everyone is able to upload content and share their opinions.

However, does this have a negative impact on traditional journalism?

The immediate answer is yes. The constant development of online media publishing is a threat to printing press industries. Nevertheless, the digital world has vastly increased distribution, as not only are the news available to a much broader audience, but also digital publishing has reduced the amount of time that it takes to produce and publish new content. Whereas a few years ago an update on a news story would only be published the following day, nowadays the same update can be published online as soon as possible.

It’s the evolution of journalism – the digital age has separated the concept of “journalism” from the simple act of running a newspaper.

Photo © Malawi Nyasa Times