Why it’s Not Smart to Repurpose
Content for Mobile
One mobile-first publisher’s editor in chief challenges
media and publishing professionals to see mobile content as more than an extension
of their print or web products.
By Apryl Motley, CAE
"Save time. Stay informed.” This is
the value proposition mobile-first news publisher Circa offers to its readers. Founded
in late 2011, Circa launched its app in 2013 and a new website at the end of
last month. Available for both Android and iPhone, Circa was named one of the
best news apps of 2013 by both Google and Apple.
According to Editor in Chief Anthony
De Rosa, who joined Circa’s team in June 2013, "mobile to us means people
who are smart and busy and want to know what they need to know quickly and
Previously social media editor at Reuters, De Rosa has strong
opinions about what constitutes truly mobile content. Sidebar caught up with him for a quick chat via email.
SIDEBAR: How do you define a mobile-first approach to creating news
DE ROSA: Circa
does more than just think about how to refactor existing content into mobile like
legacy companies do. Even newly created news companies that started with mobile
don't seem to build their news with mobile, especially smartphones, in mind. We
do every single thing with smartphones in mind.
Our stories are atomized to be more easily read in chunks on a
smartphone. Nobody hasdeconstructedthe article format as we have.
Our process from start to finish has smartphones in mind. Even our
new website is designed first to be mobile.
SIDEBAR: What are the main elements or steps of Circa’s content creation
DE ROSA: We have
a very unique workflow and have built our own tools to be super-efficient in
terms of reporting, synthesizing, gathering, and distributing news. It is part
of our entire process, which is different than any newsroom I know. At the same
time, we adhere to the old-school highest standards of journalism.
SIDEBAR: Many associations still have print publications. As they
continue to explore other content channels (social media, mobile apps), how can
print best support a mobile-first strategy?
DE ROSA: I would
suggest not trying to repurpose your print content for mobile. Mobile needs to
be its own entirely different thing. I think responsive design is a crutch for
folks who want a "good enough” solution. You have to build from the ground up
for the platform you're delivering to.
SIDEBAR: What first steps would you suggest to associations that would
like to make the transition to a mobile-first mindset?
DE ROSA: Throw
everything out and think about mobile as its own thing. Build with the behavior
and use of mobile in mind. Most folks do not do this. They try to build an
extension of their web or print product. This is a huge mistake.
Apryl Motley, CAE, is
a communications and publishing consultant and freelance writer.