In 2012, the Pew Research Center found that 62 percent of smartphone owners read news stories on their devices. And that number continues to grow. News outlets are thinking smarter about how content appears on mobile devices. Enter Emily Banks (B.A., '08), who was named the first lead news editor for mobile content at the Wall Street Journal in 2014. Here, she works with the news team to ensure that content works for mobile users. Banks, who worked at Mashable from 2010-2014 and began her career as a journalist working in both newspapers and broadcasting, tells us about the changing landscape of news technology.
How do you think about social media and the mobile experience?
In the past, focus has been on apps. But now newsrooms are understanding the importance of a strong mobile presence because of social media. You can link to your mobile content on social media, but you can't link to content on an app. Mobile traffic is up because of social media, which can't be ignored. Sharable content is key and keeps the audience engaged in the news.
How do you work with reporters and news editors? Is there friction?
The era has passed where print fights with mobile and web. Everybody sees the importance of the online and mobile experience. Plus, with my background in journalism, I have an understanding of where our staff is coming from and the other elements that can be used to tell a story to take it further. We have to continue to evolve and adapt. We can't get complacent.
How do you stay on top of new trends in mobile?
I spend a lot of time on my phone. I'm always downloading new apps -- even games -- and thinking about how people use their phones and how they prefer to navigate information on mobile devices.
What made you change from creating the news to creating how the news was delivered?
At Mashable, we saw a tremendous growth in my nearly four years there. Our reputation and audience grew immensely. When I started there, Mashable was basically a tech news blog but through the years, the design and development team grew and we went through a huge redesign in 2012. I served as the editorial liaison to the product team and made sure that reporters could deliver on the design and product. That really started to get me thinking about the platform, and the design of the news, and how people access it.
What did you learn at SJMC that you still use today?
The media law and ethics classes have stuck with me the most. When I was at Mashable, I was really proud that we were able to instill in the staff some caution, especially when it comes to copyright. With the advent of social media, you have to be careful, specifically with breaking news.
Also, a lot of my time at the Minnesota Daily (where Banks served as editor-in-chief during the 2007-2008 school year) continues to affect my work, including the experience of managing people and working on redesigns.
What job advice do you have for students who are job searching?
Your plans aren't always going to work out as you expect. You never know what meeting new people will turn into, so it's really important to be flexible.