Blogs » On the Docket » Bridging the digital divide


I wish the Census Bureau had released this report about how more and more people are accessing the internet through their smartphones and other devices when I was working on a story about IHOP a few weeks ago.

Then, a manager was caught on a smartphone camera arguing with customers.

"According to the report, a gap of 27.1 percentage points exists between groups with the highest and lowest reported rates of home Internet use. Asians reported the highest use at 78.3 percent and Hispanics the lowest at 51.2 percent. However, the gap narrows to 17.5 percentage points when smartphone use is factored into overall rates of Internet use. With smartphones factored in, 83.0 percent of Asians and 65.5 percent of Hispanics reported going online. ... Overall, 48.2 percent of individuals 15 and older reported using a smartphone."

I got a cellphone when I was in eighth grade. It was a small Nokia black and white phone that I used to call my parents to pick me up from theatre practice each afternoon. It looked a little something like this.

Eventually, I got a Chocolate, then a Razr, and finally a Droid. At the Advocate, most reporters use an iPhone because it is most compatible with the system we use to send videos directly to our website.

I am definitely one of those people that feel lost without a phone by my side. I constantly check and reply to e-mails, I shoot and edit video. I've even written stories on the device while a jury is deliberating at the courthouse. It is a pretty remarkable reporting tool, but it can also be hard to tune out when you're trying to relax.

What do you use your smart phone for the most? Browsing on Pinterest? Tweeting? Playing Angry Birds? If you don't have a smart phone, why not?