8 Journalism Predictions To Watch In 2014

The fact that the journalism industry is changing is nothing new, and 2013 was no exception.

In 2013 we saw shifts in media ownership, a decline in press freedom in the U.S. and the beginning of a global conversation in wake of Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations.

What trends can we expect to see in 2014?

Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab recently published “Predictions for Journalism 2014: A Nieman Lab Series,” which contains 52 industry predictions by media professionals. 

Here’s a glimpse of eight trends I’m most excited about:

1. Building on the Snowden effect by Dan Gillmor

“If journalism is to matter, we can’t just raise big topics. We have to spread them, and then sustain them.”

The "Snowden Effect" is perhaps the most influential factor affecting journalists. It affects journalists' relationships with their audience, sources and fellow journalists.

Snowden leaked the NSA documents to
Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, who then dispersed them to a variety of news outlets for publication. This collaborative effort reached a broader audience and helped decentralized the liability of individual journalists and media outlets from government prosecution.

Bottom-line: "Journalists will increasingly recognize the value of collaboration and cooperation — and of shedding their old “not invented here” attitudes. They’ll understand that bringing vital information to the public is, in part, a campaign and not just an act of publishing."

2. The year we contextualize the news by Lauren Rabaino
“We’re limiting the opportunity for our readers to understand all the intersecting impacts by reducing context to a few paragraphs of background.”

Publishing articles on a 24-hour news cycle simple won't cut it much longer, especially when dealing with ongoing, complex stories. The role of a journalist is to help make sense of what's going on in the world.

Imagine you were given only a chapter of a book to read and expected to understand how it fits into the story as a whole. That may not be the easiest task, but that's often the problem we face with daily news stories.

Context is a major component of journalism, and we need to start thinking of innovative ways to provide context and connect relevant content to better illustrate the story or issue being presented.

Bottom-line: "
Topic pages aren’t enough. Topic pages with filters aren’t enough. Wikis aren’t enough. We’re going to dramatically re-think how we publish content, and it won’t happen without culture changes, open minds and a little experimentation."

3. Connecting the dots by Staci D. Kramer
“We have some serious firepower to throw at problems — and far too often, we have no idea if those problems already have good solutions.”

Bottom-line: "In 2014, we can do a better job of connecting with each other, sharing the tools that are out there and working on the problems yet to be solved in ways that make the most of our limited resources."

4. The continued rise of single-subject sites by Elizabeth Green
“More niche nonprofit news organizations will be unmistakably good for democracy. The more knowledgeable our news sources, the more knowledgeable we can be as citizens and policymakers.”

Bottom-line: "We have a defined audience that a defined set of foundations, donors, and sponsors want to reach — and so raising money, while always a challenge, is relatively easier."

5. Loosen the newsroom’s chokehold on the brand by Raju Narisetti
“The privileged status a newsroom enjoys ought to come with accountability and a responsibility to help sustain both journalism and the business of journalism.”

Bottom-line: "
Publishers have simply been too afraid to hold newsrooms accountable for their lack of cooperation around both creating and integrating innovative revenue-generating opportunities for the very news brand that everyone actually has a vested interest in preserving."

6. Mobile, social, video by Ed O'Keefe
“Instagram, Facebook, Vine, Twitter, and Snapchat (srsly) are news mediums — because that’s where the audience is.”

Bottom-line: "The mobile + social generation doesn’t need to find the news; the news finds them."

7. Think audiences, not just metrics by James Robinson
“2014 is the year that newsrooms will begin to think of analytics as a way to increase thequality of their readership, not just the quantity.”

Bottom-line: "
Even though an analyst’s technical toolkit has advanced significantly in recent years, useful audience insights still do not come prepackaged in a shrink-wrapped box."

8. Even if it’s fake, it’s real by Matt Haughey
“In the end, they spark important conversations about important topics, and those conversations don’t feel lessened if and when an original story gets undermined.”

Bottom-line: " In the end, they spark important conversations about important topics, and those conversations don’t feel lessened if and when an original story gets undermined."

What trends are you most excited for?



Nieman Journalism Lab http://www.niemanlab.org


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