The New York Times and that Mobile State of Mind


The New York Times is trying to emphasize a “mobile state of mind” within their office. The move is aimed at helping their staff reach an increasing number of readers on mobile devices. The paper is taking the unusual step of blocking their staff’s access to the desktop version of the Gray Lady’s homepage and restricting them to the mobile version by redirecting them to a note that says to look at The Times on their phone or tablet.

The goal of the exercise? To highlight the importance of mobile. “More than half of our traffic to The Times is on mobile,” according to a memo tweeted out by Times masthead editor Clifford Levy. “We’re hopeful that this temporary change will help spur us to make mobile an even more central part of everything we do.”

The Times may be on to something. According to recent reports, as much as 60 percent of online traffic comes from mobile devices. As POLITICO reported, mobile also continues to be important revenue source for The Times and other publications. This follows as more than ever, people are consuming news at their convenience and on their phones and tablets. People still read the news while waiting in line at the grocery store or post office or on their commute, but they’re doing it digitally.

What does this mean for those who write for a living? In addition to asking the usual questions when drafting content (Who are we trying to reach? What’s our main goal for the piece?), we must now consider how the end product will be viewed.

When writing for an increasingly mobile audience – think pithy and concise. Reader fatigue, in which readers of posts or articles tire and are unable to complete reading a piece, may become more of an issue when content is being viewed via mobile. That means breaking up long paragraphs into one or two lines to help readers digest – and importantly, keep their attention.

Another way of thinking about it? Envision your reader has given you a New York minute to get your point across. Go.