FREE ACCESS to New Special Section in Mobile Media & Communication: News Consumption in an Age of Mobile Media

Dear friends and colleagues

It is my pleasure to announce that the OnlineFirst articles for a forthcoming Special Section in Mobile Media & Communication (2015, Vol 3:2) are out. The special section focuses on “News Consumption in an Age of Mobile Media” and contains no less than five original articles and a guest editorial. The good news is that all these articles will be OPEN-ACCESS for 6 months from now, so make sure to download your copies!

The social,cultural, and technological phenomenon of mobile news is an important area of mobile media development, marking a paradigmatic shift in the accessibility and use of news in everyday life. The special section brings together a selection of five original articles authored by scholars from a range of countries on three continents. The reader will note several themes in the different papers. Playing on alliteration, these can be seen to be the thematic areas of patterns, people, place, and participation.
The introduction to the Special Section by Oscar Westlund –  News consumption in an age of mobile media: Patterns, people, place, and participation – introduces these four areas, and is followed by brief summaries of how the five articles in the special section contribute to the field. These will be published in the following order, with full reference details and abstracts below:

Thorson, T., Karaliova, T., Shoenberger, H., Kim, E., & Fidler, R. (2015). News use of mobile media: A contingency view. Mobile Media & Communication, 3(2), 1-19, doi:0.1177/2050157914557692


A mobile contingency model is introduced and used to guide hypotheses about how the
strength of people’s habits for using an incumbent medium (here, print newspapers),
their degree of adoption of a newer medium (mobile devices), and their attitudes about
the importance of professional news sources, influence their use of mobile devices
for communication functions including entertainment, interpersonal communication,
following news, financial transactions, and e-commerce. Secondary analysis of a 2012
U.S. national phone survey is employed. Older respondents use mobile devices less for
all functions, including following news, tend to be loyal print subscribers, and highly agree
that it is important for news to be produced by professional news sources. However,
when the effect of age is controlled, higher levels of education, and to a lesser extent,
income, still significantly predict agreement about the importance of professional news
sources. The results demonstrate the crucial impact of news attitudes, and are largely
supportive of the mobile contingency model. The most important practical implication
is that newspaper companies should be targeting their mobile applications not to their
subscribers, but rather to nonsubscribers who have adopted mobile devices, are highly
educated, and have higher incomes.
mobile news use: The case of Hong Kong. Mobile Media & Communication, 3(2), 1-17, doi: 10.1177/2050157914550663


Adopting perspectives from media displacement, complementary uses, and uses and
gratifications theories, this study examines the relationships and dynamics between
mobile news use and use of other mediums for accessing the news. Findings from a
national sample in Hong Kong, which has among the highest mobile phone penetration
rates in the world, found support for all perspectives. Those in the 18–34 and 35–
54 cohorts were mostly multiplatform users of news, yet subgroup analyses reveal
different patterns of complementary uses and displacement. Moreover, results showed
that different gratifications predict mobile hard news use and mobile soft news use.
Implications and future prospects for mobile news are discussed.
 Van Damme, K., Courtois, C., Verbrugge, K., & de Marez, L. (2015).What’s APPening to news? A mixed-method audience-centered study on mobile news consumption, Mobile Media &Communication, 3(2), 1-18, doi:10.1177/2050157914557691

News is increasingly being consumed on a multitude of media devices, including
mobile devices. In recent years, mobile news consumption has permeated individuals’
news consumption repertoires. The main purpose of this study is twofold: (a) gain
insight in how mobile news outlets infiltrated the broader news media repertoires
of mobile device owners and (b) understand in what circumstances mobile news is
consumed within these news media repertoires. The key is to understand how and
why this widening agency in appropriating various places and social spaces in everyday
life relates to general news media consumption (Peters, 2012). This two-phased study
aims to illuminate how mobile device owners position their mobile news consumption
in relation to other types of news media outlets. First, a guiding cluster analysis of a
large-scale questionnaire (N= 1279) was performed, indicating three types of news
consumers. Second, in order to thicken the originally derived clusters, a mixed-method
study was set up, combining objective data originating from mobile device logs with more
subjective audience constructions through personal diaries and face-to-face interviews
(N= 30). This study reveals the Janus-faced nature of mobile news. On the one hand,

the majority of news consumers dominantly relies on traditional media outlets to stay
informed, only to supplement with online mobile services in specific circumstances.
Even then, there is at least a tendency to stick to trusted brand materials. On the other
hand, these mobile news outlets/products do seem to increasingly infiltrate the daily
lives of mobile audiences who were previously disengaged with news.
mobile users. Mobile Media & Communication, 3(2), 1-16, doi: 0.1177/2050157914552156
This paper examines the significance of user-distributed content (UDC) for news
consumption, thereby offering an innovative take on mass communication and the
participatory audience. From the viewpoint of media organizations, UDC is a process by
which the mass media converge with online social networks through the intentional use
of social media and other platforms and services in an effort to expand the distribution
of media content. In order to focus specifically on mobile news consumption, this
paper sheds light on the novel phenomenon of mobile user-distributed content (mobile
UDC). Mobile UDC is manifested in mobile users’ ability to share online media content
on a perpetual and ubiquitous basis. The study utilizes the results from a survey carried
out with Finnish Internet users. The main finding is that mobile Internet users are more
active in UDC than those who do not use the Internet with mobile devices. It is thus
argued that mobile UDC, as a developing concept, can be used to explain the practices
that are characteristic of mobile online news consumption.


divide. Mobile Media & Communication, 3(2), 1-20. doi: 0.1177/2050157914550664
This study explores the role of mobile news in democracy by examining individual-level
variations in mobile election news use based on demographics, socioeconomic indicators,
and mobile media activity breadth, and, in turn, how mobile news use is associated with
political participation. Nationally representative data from a random-sample survey of
American adults (N= 2,250) in the 2010 general election were analyzed to better explain
who mobile election news users are, how they compare to nonusers, and whether mobile
news use was associated with voter turnout and mobile campaign donation. Findings
underscore the significance of mobile media use and mobile news as phenomena of
emerging importance in the election campaigns, and important differential patterns in the
relationships of sociodemographics, mobile media, and electoral participation are discussed.
By providing a nuanced accounting of the socioeconomic and demographic profile of
mobile election news users and how those individuals differ from nonusers, this study
enriches explanations of how societal privilege and the benefits of political engagement are
related in complicated ways to individual-level variations in consuming and using mobile
election news. Notably, for racial minorities, mobile media may provide a bridge across the
digital-driven democratic divide and a more effective means of engaging with digital election
information than other ICTs. Analysis also extends what is known about how citizens use
mobile news to engage with increasingly personalized election campaigns. Results indicate
that mobile election news use was a significant positive predictor of the odds of having
voted and whether individuals used their mobile devices to make contributions during the
campaign. These findings support arguments that the unique qualities of mobile devices are
contributing to new and different pathways to political engagement while also retaining
significance in relation to traditional forms of offline political participation.


 The full reference and link to the guest editorial is:
 Westlund, O. (2015). News consumption in an age of mobile media: Patterns, people, place, and participation, Mobile Media & Communication, Vol. 3(2), doi:10.1177/2050157914563369.