It is said that those who can adapt to technology the fastest are the ones who will generate the most profit. In some cases, adapting to technology does not necessarily make everything better. For example, Apple is preparing to launch the first in a line of products it calls ‘smart wearable devices’ in the form of its Apple Watch, and the media industry is already responding. The New York Times has announced that it will be writing one-sentence news stories, accompanied by pictures, to accommodate the watch’s smaller screen. Now media experts are wondering what this means and where the industry could be headed as it scrambles to keep up with technology.
In a March 31, 2015, press release announcing the new technology adaptation, the New York Times said it will have editors working on three continents specifically to generate content for the Apple Watch. At a time when people are complaining about too much information being thrown their way, here comes the other side of the coin with the Times keeping pace with technology by offering a lot less information.
You could argue that the one-sentence news stories on the Apple Watch platform are simply summaries of stories that users can get in much more extended formats on their mobile computing devices and their laptops, and you would probably be right. But how would the media industry adapt if one-sentence stories suddenly became the norm? It would be interesting to see how the media world would handle such a dramatic shift in the way it presents information.
Not Everyone Is Happy
On the adweek.com website, Time Magazine editor Alex Fitzpatrick laments the idea of getting news on a wristwatch. The article even suggests that one-sentence news summaries could damage the Times’ reputation with readers.
The pushback comes from the fear that a one-sentence news story would be unable to present enough facts to give a story credibility. While the Times is insisting that their Apple Watch news summaries will only act as gateways to accessing the full story on other platforms, some opponents suggest that one-sentence stories could be misleading and misinterpreted.
What Are The Alternatives?
The New York Times and Apple are both betting that wearables like the Apple Watch will become extremely popular with consumers all over the world, and they may be right. But the smaller platform means that media companies will have to find a way to capture that new audience and one-sentence news stories seem to be the only solution right now.
With the intense level of competition that exists in the media world, there is a good chance that some company will take the Times’ idea and alter it into something else. But the end result needs to be a way to present information on an extremely small platform with the possibility that the reader will not utilize any other device to get their information. Can the news of the day be broken down into one-sentence stories? The New York Times is preparing to find out once and for all.