MobileActive has a good piece on how the Namibian, an independent newspaper with 27,000 sales a day, launched SMS pages – pages in the newspaper dedicated to printing submitted messages.
MobileActive notes that the SMS program originally started as a way for readers to respond to a small number of articles – the editors placed a mobile phone logo beneath certain stories in the paper and invited readers to text in their responses to it. The program grew so popular that the paper now dedicates two pages of the paper three times a week and a section of their website to publishing SMS responses. The messages cover everything from direct responses to articles to more general quality-of-life comments.
Carmen Honey, sub-editor for the Namibian sums up the goal of the SMS Pages as: “To give as many readers as possible, whoever and wherever they are, a chance to take part in the democratic process by sharing their views at the lowest possible cost.”
As mobile phone penetration expands, traditional media will increasingly find convergence opportunities with new media. Radio stations running call-in programmes, newspapers printing SMS messages. What other examples of convergence will emerge?