Kevin J. Delaney: Look beyond news for mobile innovation

Kevin J. Delaney is editor-in-chief of Quartz, the global business news site launched in September by Atlantic Media. He was previously managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Online. This essay is part of Predictions for Journalism 2013: A Nieman Lab Series.

 

(…) Mobile news will start growing up
The list of breakthrough interfaces for reading news on smartphones is a short one. Instapaper is arguably the pioneer in this area, with its focus on a simple reading experience. Vox Media’s SB Nation iPhone app cleverly grouped news updates about the same topic (Vox tweaked that design in its current web app approach.) But many mobile news apps and sites are little more than re-skinned RSS readers, and surprisingly few publishers even bother to format their email newsletters for easy reading on iPhones and BlackBerries. When we were creating Quartz earlier this year, we needed to look for inspiration to non-news applications, such as the Clear to-do list app — it’s hard to find boldness and creativity in the news industry’s smartphone products.

(…) Clearly, more publishers will reconsider their native app focus in 2013 in favor of HTML5.

(…) Gawker Media’s Nick Denton is among those who have made admirable efforts to improve commenting, and Nick has rightly proclaimed that comments on their own can represent as high-quality content as any article. But most of the best discussion takes place off publishers’ sites, on Twitter, Facebook and in private emails. This is a reality that won’t be fully addressed in 2013, if ever.