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TESS VIGELAND: Tomorrow in Washington the Federal Trade Commission will take a look at our growing dependency on mobile phones, and the growing number of ways advertisers are pushing their messages there. Of course, the ads usually come as an add-on to something else, like news. Today, the Associated Press and 100 of its member newspapers launched a service that’ll allow you better access to local news on the go.
Marketplace’s Lisa Napoli explains.
LISA NAPOLI: It’s called the Mobile News Network. The idea is to bring the newspaper to you, so you don’t need the newspaper. The free service is specially formatted for the iPhone and other mobile devices, considered the new promised land in the digital landscape.
ADAM CLAYTON POWELL: This is a very interesting move.
That’s veteran journalist Adam Clayton Powell III. He says the struggling newspaper industry realizes it has to get as much exposure for its content in as many places as possible, or lose more ground:
POWELL: It’s better for the AP and for newspapers to have a piece of this new and growing platform, the iPhone, than to ignore it and let Yahoo and Google and Microsoft snap it up.
Online news pioneer Merrill Brown says this alliance is an easy way for newspapers to get up and running in the hot medium of mobile.
MERRILL BROWN: I think it’s an interim step before the individual companies figure out their own strategies.
For now, there’s strength in numbers as print tries to move toward the future.
BROWN: If you’re struggling with lots of technological challenges, on even the basic Web, then using your AP relationship, to get at least up and running on the iPhone, is a easy transitional step.
The AP and its member newspapers are hoping to generate a big enough audience for their new service to attract advertising dollars, which will be split among the partners. This mobile news network is one more reason you never have to get ink smudges on your hands.
In Los Angeles, I’m Lisa Napoli for Marketplace.
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