A tablet with a news app
A tablet with a news app

Brendan Lynch/flickr

The press is still in the midst of a massive transformation, as mobile platforms become the dominant means of consuming news content — and everybody from Apple to Snapchat is looking to make their mark.

The newspaper as we know it is dying: local and large papers alike are scaling back or outright shutting down all around the country in the face of declining circulation, according to the Huffington Post. Turns out that in the modern era of instant search engine results, social media, and endless special interest blogs, the traditional newspaper format simply can’t keep up without some significant backup, as Forbes explains.

Just like it has in just about every other industry, the mobile device market has revolutionized the news media world. In addition to digital-native upstarts, traditional news entities have evolved to fit into the new world order by providing accessible, simple, and personal outlets that redefine the idea of what it means to cover the news. Let’s take a look at how media companies of all shapes and sizes are working to make their mark on this rapidly changing industry.

Social News

One of the biggest game-changers in how we receive our news is social media — and not just because of the breakout digital publications who now compete with titans of the old guard. Now that anyone with a phone has the ability to post a story, picture, or tweet from anywhere in the world, breaking a story is no longer just for the reporters.

The Boston Marathon bombings of 2013 are a prime example of how the interactive element of social media has drastically enhanced the way the public not only reacts to, as Boston.com emphasizes, but participates in the reporting process. But the public’s ability to shape media narratives doesn’t always produce some helpful results: some news outlets cited social media updates in their stories that were founded on nonexistent sources or mere speculation. Out of the eight million tweets relevant to the bombings, only 20% turned out to be based on factual information, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

Working Together

As with any new market opportunity, the tech giants behind our smartphones aren’t content with just disrupting the media space — they want to monetize that disruption by jumping into the media game themselves.

Apple inserted itself into the news space in a big way with its redesigned News app, a free iOS staple program that works to aggregate content from news outlets like The New York Times, ESPN, and Buzzfeed, as Wired

reports. The clean and curatable staple app aims to put news sources that people know and trust directly on their iPhones and iPads.

Snapchat and Facebook are also looking to make a splash in the mobile news world. These two social media giants are utilizing their familiar layouts and operating directives (the Snapchat articles expire after a 24-hour period) to bring users their daily dose of current events.

Print to Screen

But don’t sleep on the old guard just yet. Although print journalism has taken a substantial hit in the digital age, many of the bigger papers, like the New York Times, are readily adapting. Newspapers that host online versions of their distributed product are increasingly locking their online content and providing the keys only to those that pay a subscription fee, as the New York Times itself explains.

Bigger organizations with more resources and readership are doing even more to move into the space. With the recently launched NYT Now app, the Times offers the same caliber of journalistic integrity that readers have come to expect in their daily print edition, now available on a succinct and attractive mobile platform, according to the Atlantic.

Do Some Reporting of Your Own!

One of the few areas of journalism not totally overtaken by tech is the locally-focused news sphere. But those papers are struggling to monetize their digital efforts, often finding themselves having to rely on so many ads that the coverage itself is all but completely obscured. Unfortunately, it’s not likely that smaller local stories will be reported on the big-picture focused tech platforms — so members of individual communities need to step up to fill the space left by these community papers.

With DIY app-making services like Infinite Monkeys, locally-focused news apps can be made and distributed with even more ease and convenience than the old print editions. Not only can the design of these apps be totally customized, they also take no advanced coding knowledge to build.

Getting the news and staying up-to-date with current events matters as much on the local level as it does on the national — that means that your community needs to its own news app. Are you ready to step up to the challenge of creating it?