Predictions for digital journalism: technology, newsletters, climate and multimedia

Credit: Tumisu from Pixabay

This year, we asked 12 industry experts and commentators to share their predictions for digital journalism in 2022. In this post, we put together ideas from seven of them, and you can read more 2022 predictions here.

Our experts are CEOs, directors and editors who have led their organizations through the pandemic while innovating and empowering their teams. Their knowledge spans the areas of audience engagement, climate, multimedia, newsletters, newsroom trends and technology. The topics are listed in alphabetical order.

Public participation

Alex Wood, Managing Director, Europe, Forbes

In 2022, there will be more international expansion of trusted media brands in the world.

The technology has been proven, international newsrooms can be managed remotely without having to be grouped together in large cities from Monday to Friday. Smart publishers will seek opportunities in new markets, attracting new audiences and playing a bigger role in the global conversation.

Great efforts will also be made to integrate more diversity into our media, reflecting the changing world in which we live.

Edward Roussel, Digital Manager, The Times and The Sunday Times

With audiences trapped at home behind screens, media companies will be experimenting with other ways to engage consumers beyond just broadcasting news. This can include a variety of community-driven activities, from game rankings to enhanced subscriber-only commentary and digital events with major journalists or celebrities.

Weather

Meera Selva, Deputy Director, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

Each newsroom will create a climate reporting center or consider how to approach the topic. The process will create even more generational differences among journalists, with younger ones calling for clear action while older ones will advocate for what they would call more impartial reporting. Some of the best and most innovative in journalism will come from small, digital-native media in the regions of the world hardest hit by climate change. The big challenge will be to ensure that their reporting is financially viable and has a global impact.

We’ll see more women and more people of color take on key leadership and editorial roles, but it remains to be seen whether that will lead to a change in substance and perspective in the news itself.

Journalists want to stop being hypocrites

Erika Owens, Co-Executive Director, OpenNews

Over the past year and a half, many newsrooms have made a commitment to improve the diversity, fairness and inclusion of their newsrooms or have apologized for wrongs done in the past. I already hear many journalists say that they are fed up with being told to wait and see the results of these promises.

I expect that in 2022, journalists in the United States and beyond will put more pressure on their newsrooms to actually meet those commitments. I also see more and more that journalists exert pressure not only at the individual level but also collectively, whether through organizing efforts with contracts that include DCI clauses or by organizing DCI groups in newsrooms. .

Too often the changes and consequences of our current inequitable system are borne by journalists alone. Journalists from marginalized backgrounds often face racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic or transphobic harassment or prejudice in the course of their work. Their work also involves a huge amount of informal work, such as efforts to help implement more inclusive policies or identify problematic issues in reporting that could easily be avoided if all perspectives in the newsroom were equally valued. by default.

By collectively pushing for meaningful structural change, journalists will transform this status quo, shifting these burdens from individual journalists and transforming news organizations into places that protect and support all journalists. These changes will also strengthen product journalism and, as Sisi Wei, co-executive director of OpenNews said, “will help journalists stop being hypocrites.”

Multimedia content

Edward Roussel, Digital Manager, The Times and The Sunday Times

For consumers under 25, media websites are as irrelevant as newspapers. Instead, they’re likely to get their media from one of three social video apps: TikTok, YouTube, or Instagram Stories. Media companies have been slow to adapt, seeing these social networks as channels of entertainment rather than primary sources of information.

We will also see more audio-plus-video. YouTube is recruiting podcast editors, moving from video to video more audio, while Spotify is moving in the opposite direction, urging its podcast makers to shoot videos as well. Expect more media companies to order stories that are a hybrid of podcasts with video – a new kind of episodic content where audiences can choose between listening and watching.

Newsletters

Katherine Bell, Editor-in-Chief, Quartz

The media have traditionally been very bad at interpreting uncertainty for readers and allowing them to easily update their understanding of a situation as new information emerges. During the pandemic, some publications have found ways to improve, and I hope this trend continues.

I also really like the trend of talent teams embedded in newsrooms to help with recruitment, inclusion, learning and development; I think we’ll see more of this. And I’m curious to see what will happen to all of the independent electronic newsletters launched in 2021. The inevitable consolidation has already started.

Edward Roussel, Digital Manager, The Times and The Sunday Times

Building on Substack’s success, major editorial staff are re-examining their newsletter strategies. Newsletters, at one point, seemed to follow the same path as blogging – a form of online blah that (thankfully) vanished without a trace in most newsrooms about a decade ago. Substack taught newsrooms what newsletters should be all about a personal connection between a rockstar writer and his audience. Something like a short daily call with your smartest friend.

Technology

Charlie Beckett, Director, Polis, LSE

Human journalism will become more, not less important in 2022.

Bots, automation, personalization, data surveys and more will enable news organizations to become more efficient, better connected to audiences, and smarter at information gathering and content creation. But here is the paradox. The more machines or algorithms increase our journalism, the more this added value will come from the human element.

The pressures of digital change, the expansion of social media, and competition for attention mean newsrooms and mainstream journalists are also revamping their formats and storytelling.

You can’t get a machine to do what talented journalists like TikTok influencer Sophia Smith Galer or BBC‘s Ros Atkins, font. But they wouldn’t have the impact they have without the power of algorithms and network connectivity. Sensible editorial staff will spend the next few years continuing to adapt to technological developments and to the new behaviors and needs of digital audiences.

Gary Liu, CEO, South China Morning Post

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will become an integral part of the advancement of the information industry, in and around the newsroom. For example, AI can be used to solve issues like tagging topics, recommending content, personalizing user experiences, and moderating comments. Data and machine learning can provide prescriptive insights to develop strategies and make successful business planning decisions.

Blockchain technology is disrupting industries including the media landscape. Blockchain technology can significantly uplift the news industry and the way journalism can serve readers and the community. For example, the blockchain’s shared ledger system can promote trust, transparency, efficiency, speed, and security. This allows for greater transparency in the source and production of media content, which is crucial for readers to rebuild trust in the reputation of legitimate news sources.

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Harry L. Blanchard