How Mobile News Apps Change the Way We Get Information

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You don’t have to look far to find evidence that smartphones and mobile apps have changed the way that we communicate, find information, and discover news about the communities around us or across the globe. Some of the best evidence for that is found in the recent Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2014, which sought to measure the impact of new technology on our consumption of online news around the world.

Reuters surveyed 19,000 people in 10 countries and found that over a third of the survey’s global sample — 37 percent of users — used smartphones to access the news each week. Twenty percent accessed news from a tablet. And as devices become less expensive, users access news from more of them, with 39 percent of those who use digital devices for news accessing news from at least two devices, and 12 percent accessing news from three or more devices.

In the U.S., 31 percent of users accessed news via a smartphone, up from 28 percent in 2013. Twenty percent of all device users said that a smartphone is now their main way of accessing news, and 10 percent use a tablet as their primary access. Here are a few of the survey’s findings, which reveal the deep impact that mobile tech has had on the way that we seek information about the world.

Many prefer apps, versus mobile websites, to access news

The use of news apps versus mobile websites varies from country to country, and is correlated with what type of phone is owned by the majority of users in the country. In the U.K., where many people use Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhones, 50 percent of smartphone users say they mainly use apps to access news. By contrast, in Finland, Nokia (NYSE:NOK) phones are dominant, and only 30 percent used apps for news. News apps are proportionately used more on smartphones than tablets, while in the U.K., 48 percent preferred mobile websites to access news on a tablet, versus only 37 percent who used apps.