The tablet could be just what the doctor ordered for the ailing newspaper industry.
The Pew Research Center's annual Project for Excellence report indicates that the growing number of tablet computers and smartphones is contributing to an influx of people returning to traditional news sources, like newspapers, online. The growing use of social media has also led to more digital exposure to news stories through referrals.
We've seen this trend in our own analytics. Traffic to our mobile site has doubled in the last year, especially since we introduced an app.
The Pew report is based on interviews with 3,016 people and data from digital research firms. The results suggest mobile device owners spend more time on news stories than other online users.
For instance, users of our e-edition site average more than 30 pageviews per visit, while the average for our website follows the national trend of about four pages per visitor. The e-edition is our primary site for tablet users.
The average visitor to our e-edition also spends more than 15 minutes on the site, which is triple what we and other newspapers see on our regular websites.
The report indicates that about 23 percent of all U.S. adults now get their news on at least two devices -- a mobile device and a PC. But more than half of mobile device users access news, compared to a third of those who own laptops or desktop computers.
The mobile trend is also bringing younger people back to traditional news.
This is encouraging. The report indicates that last year the audience for news websites grew 17 percent over the previous year, most of it fueled by the emergence of iPads and smartphones.
The research center even speculates that major digital companies, like Facebook, may purchase newspapers in the future to keep up the supply of traditional news for their users.
OFFICE CLOSES: The Standard-Examiner has closed its Davis County office in Layton. The lease was scheduled to run out the end of April, but we decided to move the staff up to the main office earlier for logistical reasons.
The office housed reporters covering the county's government, schools, courts and cities. Even though we closed the office for economic reasons, there are no plans to cut back on coverage of Davis County. We will still have a Davis Edition of our print product and cover all 15 communities in the county.
The same advancements in mobile technology and the proliferation of Wi-Fi hotspots that are contributing to an increase in digital audience are also making it unnecessary for newspapers to have satellite offices. The office is now wherever the journalist happens to be at a given time. Reporters and photographers can not only file stories and images from almost anywhere, they can also tap into the newspaper's centralized servers to edit and view material that used to require infrastructure access.
It truly is a brave new world.
Andy Howell is executive editor. He can be reached at 801-625-4210 or email@example.com.