Just over two years ago in April 2011, we opened the previously private Mobile Journalism Facebook group to be publicly visible …and not much happened.
It wasn’t the right time yet.
This past year though we’ve seen an exponential explosion in growth from about 50 members to almost 300, as the industry has shifted and more advocates for mobile journalism have come to publicly raise awareness, including Regina McCombs, Damon Kiesow, Amy Gahran, Robert Hernandez, and Cory Doctorow.
It’s been exciting to see the group grow and the industry lighting up, and realizing the shift and potential that has taken place. In my own career, mobile shifted from being part of my job focus to everything quickly. In 2008, at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch my responsibilities as Interactive Director were split focusing on mobile, social and multimedia, but since then it’s grown to be my primary focus through the RJI fellowship, a Director of Mobile News position at Lee Enterprises corporate, and now to my current role at the BBG, where my focus is on many markets that are basically mobile-*only* (Such as in many of our African and Southeast Asian countries, the first and only interaction our audiences have with the Internet is through mobile devices).
This is what excites me most about mobile: as more and more networks light up around the world, more devices fill the pockets of people around the world and the digital and information divide becomes narrower as people who have never experienced the awesome power of having the world’s information in the palm of their hand — and the resulting disruption, education and innovation that comes with that technological shift to all aspects of life — including culture, communication, news, health, education and money.
It reminds me of the motto and one of the early principles I learned in my career at Scripps in Florida: “Give light and the people will find their own way.”
We’re about to experience a supernova and I’m excited to see how the group, mobile and media industries continue to evolve.
Congrats gang, and happy anniversary!