Journalism and mobile devices (Portugal)


Call for papers for International Congress

Universidade da Beira Interior (Portugal), 15-16 November 2012

The media ecosystem is constantly changing due to the complex process of convergence that currently takes place. Jenkins (2006)states that this convergence occurs in four areas (content, technology, business models and professional activity) and is characterized by the existence of multimedia content, intermedia collaboration and audiences behavior search for personal interest content. In this conference we are interested in contents specifically intended for mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and tabphones.

The growing penetration of mobile broadband (3G/4G) and the reported increase in smartphones and tablets sales created an alternative channel for news distribution : the mobile devices. Aguado (2009) believes that the emergence of this fourth screen – after the film, television and computer – represents a business opportunity for media companies, seeing these devices an alternative to the traditional distribution of journalistic information. This new « push » media ecosystem (Fidalgo, 2009) is characterized by a change : news are searching for the consumers and not the opposite. This change immediately implies us to rethink the news delivering system.

Theme 1 : How do mobile devices affect the traditional forms of delivering news ?

Mobile devices are an excellent reception platform due to its ability to receive multimedia information, but also because their characteristics – such as portability and ubiquity – that enable a global and personalized distribution of information. Tom Ahonen (2009) stresses the business side of this new medium that allows for effective market segmentation and target audience. Mobile users are a group who is already accustomed to paying for

access to content (ringtones, music, news alerts, apps). This creates conditions for the emergence of a new market that has experienced a remarkable success, especially in the field of native applications (apps). The app economy has grown exponentially and, in 2011, the online markets – iTunes, Android Market, WP7Market Place, OVI and BB App Store – generated about 15 billion dollars.

Theme 2 : The app economy can be an alternative to selling content ?

But the technical conditions are not enough for this market to become a reality. According to Nielsen (2010), micro-payments (52 %) and simpler and safer payment systems (43 %) are crucial to get consumers to pay for content access, however this only happens if the news have better quality than the current (71 %) and exploit the devices technical

capabilities such as multimediality, hypertextuality, interactivity, personalization, ubiquity, immediacy and memory . Innovation and keeping up with technology trends is crucial to improve the quality of content, responding to consumer expectations Kaye & Quinn (2010). This leads us to the third question :

Theme 3 : Is there a new journalistic language and new journalistic genres for these devices ?

This set of questions summarizes the theme of this congress. We are interested in texts that :

a) help us to understand how media companies are taking advantage of this new ecosystem characterized by a mobile and personal reception ;
b) reports experiences in the development of specific languages and formats to these platforms ;
c) case studies related to the development of apps news ;
d) data analysis related to the distribution of apps and studies of economic models used by companies.

Abstracts submission : until June 30, 2012
Acceptance notification : July 25, 2012
Paper submission : September 30, 2012

Website :

Final notes :
Papers should follow the APA rules can be written in Portuguese, Spanish or English.
Accepted papers will be published in the book « Journalism for mobile devices » (2013)
There is no conference fee.