News use of mobile media: A contingency model

Esther Thorson, Heather Shoenberger, Tatsiana Karaliova, Eunjin (Anna) Kim, Roger Fidler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


A mobile contingency model is introduced and used to guide hypotheses about how the strength of people’s habits for using an incumbent medium (here, print newspapers), their degree of adoption of a newer medium (mobile devices), and their attitudes about the importance of professional news sources, influence their use of mobile devices for communication functions including entertainment, interpersonal communication, following news, financial transactions, and e-commerce. Secondary analysis of a 2012 U.S. national phone survey is employed. Older respondents use mobile devices less for all functions, including following news, tend to be loyal print subscribers, and highly agree that it is important for news to be produced by professional news sources. However, when the effect of age is controlled, higher levels of education, and to a lesser extent, income, still significantly predict agreement about the importance of professional news sources. The results demonstrate the crucial impact of news attitudes, and are largely supportive of the mobile contingency model. The most important practical implication is that newspaper companies should be targeting their mobile applications not to their subscribers, but rather to nonsubscribers who have adopted mobile devices, are highly educated, and have higher incomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-178
Number of pages19
JournalMobile Media and Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Media Technology
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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