Journalism, Media, and Technology Trends and Predictions 2018 RECAP

Digital News Project 2018: Journalism, Media, and Technology Trends and Predictions

I recently came across Nic Newman’s Journalism, Media, and Technology Trends and Predictions 2018, which, as the title implies, discusses the current age of media and what it means for the future of journalists. Rather than having to sift through the 50 page documented yourself, I’ve compiled the primary takeaways in bullet form, but you can read the full article here.

 Looking Back at 2017

Downsides of Technology

  • Facebook was criticized throughout the United States presidential election as Russia used fake accounts to buy $100 000 worth of political advertising to influence voters
  • Facebook’s algorithm was accused of pushing misinformation, propaganda, and polarising content
  • Tech-funded initiatives to combat misinformation began to emerge with Facebook launching its Journalism Project in January 2017
    • Google has also funded fact-checking
  • Pressure builds in some countries to regulate platforms
  • Germany passed law that promises to fine tech platforms up to €50m if they don’t remove hate speech or ‘obviously illegal’ material within 24 hours

 

Benefits of Social Media

  • #MeToo brought together many to expose stories of sexual assault and harassment
  • Hashtags provide source of information for Grenfell Fire

 

Journalism Reflects on Biases, Starts to Fight Back

  • Ignoring warnings about Grenfell story, local media had ‘little awareness, contact or connection with those not of the elite’
  • 46% leaders say they’re uncomfortable with level of diversity in their newsrooms
  • importance of building trust, avoiding group think, giving the people a voice

 

Changing Business Models

  • 7% increase in subscription in last year (led by New York Times and Washington Post)
  • For the first time, the Guardian is getting more revenue from readers than advertising
  • Poor business results from play news, opinion and entertainment websites

 

Mobile and Visual Storytelling

  • The shape of news is changing with spread of ‘tap to advance’ horizontal storytelling
  • Mobile-friendly ways of storytelling became default for new mobile launches

 

Memes Give us Something to Smile About

  • All talking and laughing about the same things again through memes shared on social media

 

Key Trends and Predictions

Breaking Publishers’ Dependence on Platforms

  • We can expect Facebook algorithms to pay less attention to posts originated by brands.
    • Will likely ease misinformation, but lost exposure to wider range of news
  • More news organizations will pull out of platform deals with Facebook, Apple, Snapchat and focus on direct readership
  • Platforms like Facebook or Google will be accused of suppressing free speech
  • There will be little direct action against platforms

 

Restoring Trust in the Era of Fake News

  • Platforms will advance maximum technology, but technology can’t solve the problem. This could also reveal how technology can create fake news
  • Funding for independent fact checkers and semi-automated solutions will rise
  • Introduction of education on how to avoid fake news

 

Social Media and Messaging in 2018

  • More will be done to reach tweens – FB messenger Kids introduced through 2018
  • Journalists are increasingly using mobile live stories via Snapchat and Instagram, and can expect to see more of these features

 

Social Challenge to Traditional Television Intensifies

  • Facebook plans to spend billions advancing TV ambitions, investing in ‘hero shows’
  • Online publishers moving away from video, losing funding
  • Could see more publishers focusing back on text or audio

 

Shifting Business Models: From Advertising to Reader Payment

  • Advertising will start to become less important
  • Two-tier information systems emerge whereby those who can’t afford subscriptions receive the lowest quality journalism with the most information
  • More bundling deals to drive numbers
  • More mergers and acquisitions to increase efficiency, meaning fewer journalists

 

Data, Registration, and New Permissions (GDPR)

  • Media companies will realize criticality of data to future success
  • If not subscriptions, media services increasingly will require registration
  • Upcoming European regulation requiring publishers to give explicit consent to contact them under the European General Data Protection Regulation

 

Newsrooms Embrace Artificial Intelligence

  • Computer-driven recommendations of content will increase
  • AI can offer personal assistants for journalists
  • AI can offer automated and semi-automated fact checking in real time

 

New Devices and Technologies

  • Increased voice driven technology reshaping home structures
  • More smart speakers with screens attached will emerge
  • Global smartphone growth slowing, but so is our dependence on them
  • Camera driven search and discovery will increase
  • Augmented and virtual reality will continue to grow
  • Mobile payment is paving the way towards a cashless society\
  • Increased AI driven apps

 

An Uncertain Future

  • Era of artificial intelligence brings new opportunities for creativity and efficiency, but also misinformation and manipulation
  • Questions not only of if the content is true, but whether it was produced by a human will rise
  • Survey shows the power of platforms is considered the greatest threat to success, followed up resistance to change and inability to innovate
  • News organizations must reconsider their role in a world where people are immersed in media and make appropriate changes to adopt their new whilst building trust and business

 

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