Rex Live: Exploring the impact and opportunities of mobile media

During the next week, I’ll be with a group of journalists and a group of publishers who, in different ways, are exploring a similar topic: What are media creators and users learning about what works (and doesn’t) when content is delivered via small-screen mobile devices during this era when such devices have gone from being perpetually-predicted publishing platforms to real-world opportunities?

This Friday, April 1 (no fooling), I’ll be leading a session at a conference at the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University. Called, “The Mobile Migration,” the one-day conference is co-sponsored by the Online News Association and the Freedom Forum’s Diversity Institute with underwriting from the Scripps Howard Foundation. You can learn more about the conference, and how to register, on the blog of its ever-vigilant organizer, Jack Lail, multi-media editor of the Knoxville News Sentinnel.

My session is called: “The Reader Decides: How Magazines are Learning What Screen Publishing is All About” and is described like this: “From multi-million dollar mega-apps to dorm-room developed content reading apps, the iPad is proving to be both a launch pad of opportunity and a landing pad for humbling crashes. What has year one of the iPad taught magazine publishers that helps predict the future of screen-based media?”

This is my second time to speak at this conference that is attended by the journalists at legacy media companies — newspapers and broadcasters — who are embracing the tools and approaches of new media (even when some of their bosses don’t quite get it). It’s a great group. It’s the kind of group I thought about when I read the recent tweet by John Paton [@jxpaxton], the CEO of a regional newspaper business, whose advice is to “stop listening to print people and put the digital people in charge – of everything.”

Next Monday, April 4, I’ll be in New York where I’ll be moderating the Annual Digital Magazine Symposium that’s held in conjunction with the Publishing Business Conference & Expo. I’m looking forward to this as I’ve been able to work with the conference organizers at Publishing Executive and Book Business magazines, Noelle Skodzinski and James Sturdivant to develop a 2 1/2 hour program that includes discussions with the developers of some most ambitious magazine-related apps and other publishers who have found success in keeping their strategy focused on content rather than developing their own technology. Likewise — and this will be no surprise to readers of this blog — I’ve also invited former NYTimes.com creative director and usability rock star Khoi Vihn to review some lessons in usability from early iPad apps, and what they might suggest for the future.