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Spotlight on SDSU Prof's Work

JMS faculty member Amy Schmitz Weiss explains the deep divide between news organizations and smartphone users.

Associate Professor of Journalism and Media Studies Amy Schmitz Weiss’ research on mobile news consumption garnered major attention recently after her article, “Exploring News Apps and Location-Based Services on the SmartPhone,” was featured in two prominent Harvard-based academic roundups.

Journalist’s Resource collaborates with the Nieman Journalism Lab to select research that presents “strong implications for the news business and the practice of journalism,” on a monthly basis according to the article.

Content Analysis of more than 100 television, radio, and independent news applications — as well as survey data from respondents — found that major news organizations fail to meet the geo-location, or “check-in”, consumption habits of smartphone users--specifically young adults — who represent 77 percent of all adult mobile news consumers.

About the research

The study showed that though “smartphone owners tend to be younger, seek out local news, and are more active news consumers,” most news apps only offer geo-location services for weather and traffic reports.

This means major news organizations may be squandering the opportunity to offer tailor-made content specific to increasingly interactive news consumers.

“The combination of these two services (location and news) might enable a more contextual user experience and make searching for local news much easier for this younger demographic,” Schmitz Weiss said.

“Using location-based services via a mobile news app could enhance a news consumer’s comprehension and visualization of local news by allowing the consumer to access news at a moment’s notice with a clear understanding of its location.”

Innovation at work

Innovations and innovative ways to showcase the news are the driving forces behind Schmitz Weiss’ academic work.

In the Spring of 2012, her research project “@SDSU - Where’s the News?”, funded by an AEJMC John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Grant, resulted in the design and launch of SDSU’s Aztecast — a location-based news app that allows users to upload news about the campus.

Schmitz Weiss’s future research projects include work on a geo-location news site prototype, as well as continued research on the subject of play space knowledge in spatial journalism.

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