by Shawnee Cohn,Media Relations Specialist
It is difficult to dispute the notion that tablets have revolutionized the way we consume media. Recent research estimates that 28 million people in the US own tablets. It has been found that tablet owners spend 40% more time online daily than those who do not own tablets.
We know tablet owners are using these devices to get news, in fact Business Wire recently launched our very own iPad news application in response to the popularity of this mobile platform. Increased usage of tablets for news consumption raises the question: What are the implications of this new trend for PR professionals and journalists?
In a recent post on the PRNewser blog, Carm Lyman of Lyman PR discusses the benefits that tablet placement offers PR professionals. Lyman states that when pitching tablet features, multimedia is a necessity, as well as an excellent opportunity to increase brand awareness and reader engagement.
Many communications professionals agree that while print journalism sometimes limits the ability to tell a story by only offering text and/or photos, the tablet can improve your brand inclusion by giving readers a powerful multimedia experience.
Some journalists believe that tablets require a new approach to journalism – one that leaves behind the linear model for a story and incorporates video, audio, and other interactive graphics that heighten the reader’s experience.
For an insider’s perspective on how tablets have affected journalism and PR, I spoke with George Jones, editor of TabTimes. Launching this fall, TabTimes will cover tablet news and be exclusively distributed on the iPad. Having previously served as editor in chief of Maximum PC magazine, Jones has extensive experience with both print and digital platforms. He offered five key reasons why tablets are a major part of the futures of PR and journalism:
On how storytelling has changed with the switch from print to digital: The core approach has not changed much; Jones still draws inspiration from all angles (publicists, reader submissions, etc). He feels that tablets meld the best of the print and digital worlds. Tablet journalism takes print and “activates it,” with the added ability to embed images, videos, polls, and other interactive elements.
On the benefits of tablets for PR professionals: Jones believes that tablets offer more opportunities for features news. Stories can be published that consist mostly of images and other multimedia. He estimates that about 60% of TabTimes content will include features on how businesses are using tablets.
On whether PR pros need to pitch an interactive element: Personally, he believes multimedia is not a necessity. Jones maintains that “a good story is a good story” and he is willing to “hear any pitch.”
On how to get your story on TabTimes: The editorial team is currently focusing on how tablets are being deployed in the workplace. They want to hear about “interesting apps that allow people to do interesting things.” Jones notes he is also interested in preview coverage of the tablet industry, in other words, “what’s coming as opposed to what’s out.”
On what’s next for the tablet news industry: The tablet industry is “exploding, in a good way,” according to Jones. While the iPad is clearly dominant, he says that the Lenovo, RIM, and Cisco tablets do have a shot at becoming more prevalent in the future.