Linear projections are always dangerous, but well established and deeply rooted overarching trends are also too often overlooked and forgotten as more exciting new developments attract our attention — so let me highlight five basic features of recent media developments I think will continue to shape the news throughout 2013.
I’m sure there will also be at least one major surprise, potentially a game-changer that bucks these trends. Maybe an easily replicated and scalable model for collaborative, quality, low-cost journalism; maybe a significant shift in willingness to pay as more people wake up to the differences between freely available content and stuff only available at a price; maybe a yet-to-be-foreseen technological shift; or maybe a legal development (on fair use, for example — keep an eye on the French and German attempts to change the terms of trade for online news, and on Google’s attempts to fight these moves).
I’m not predicting either of these latter things — just recognizing that the future usually turns out to be weirder than we think. That said, it’s also built on the past, and the past has a way of repeating itself, especially if we forget it, so let’s keep the basic features of recent years in mind.