The technology and structure around The Wall Street Journal’s mobile innovation strategy is transforming quickly, says David Ho, the news media company’s executive mobile editor.
“Some of the most interesting, innovative work we’ve done recently involves Virtual Realty videos, where we can create these really immersive news experiences for people on their phones,” Ho explained at the INMA Mobile Strategies Conference in Seattle, Washington, USA. “And you don’t need anything special for that. Just our app and your phone, and you can experience news in a whole different way.
“So we’re definitely looking at both where we need to be now, but also many steps ahead — where news is going and what the interaction is like on mobile devices.”
Ho was the media company’s first mobile editor, hired in 2009. The newsroom is undergoing a restructuring right now that will put mobile at the centre of what it does. Ho has seen the strategy evolve from a mobile Web site to a BlackBerry app to its current state.
“Moving forward, I think it’s really important that mobile stands on its own, that it’s a unique experience for people, that it’s not just one platform regurgitated on another platform. Mobile in and of itself is becoming the dominant platform.”
Ho says the future focus will be on notifications, alerts, customisation and personalisation, experiments, and immersive news experiences (Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality).
His advice? Understand that mobile is critical.
“Mobile isn’t just another platform. It is the platform. It’s the dominant platform. It is the way things are going. It’s what everybody has in their pocket. It’s the way you reach potentially every human being on earth.
“It’s hard to over-emphasize that news organisations focus on this.”