HOME
          
LATEST STORY
iOS 8: How 5 news orgs have updated their apps for Apple’s new operating system
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Dec. 17, 2013, 10:17 a.m.

Breaking audio out of radio’s boundaries

“Our news reports and stories increasingly will be produced and packaged in forms divorced from the formats dictated by a radio clock.”

What do I think 2014 will bring for the future of news?

You can detect the near-term future in what we can see with our own eyes right now. When I was an editor at The New York Times, I gradually watched the newspapers on my morning train commute give way to smartphones and tablets. The opportunities that created were vast (viz The Times’s digital subscriptions and incredible interactives), but so was the new competition (viz Fruit Ninja and Candy Crush, as well as The Guardian and Mail Online).

jim-schachterNow that I’m a public radio suit, vice president for news at WNYC, what I can see is that every other person — or more, maybe — is commuting with earbuds in. The competition is abundant (viz Robin Thicke or last night’s episode of Homeland), yet the opportunity for those of us who tell our stories in audio form is just as real.

So I predict that what you’ll be seeing in 2014 is that forward-thinking radio news organizations will be making an all-out assault on the earbud-wearing masses. You can call that a “mobile-first audio strategy”; I’m sure there are PowerPoint slides out there somewhere that do. But what it means is that our news reports and stories increasingly will be produced and packaged in forms divorced from the formats dictated by a radio clock.

Big audiences still want to listen to an hour of Morning Edition or All Things Considered, but a whole other big audience wants to hear news stories and talk-show segments as standalone reports: in our app or some other audio app, directly in their Twitter feed, in playlists of their own creation or playlists generated by an algorithm that takes into account their listening habits. That means that, as producers, we will need to create new formats and develop new workflows so that our reporting quickly — and satisfyingly — reaches listeners who don’t already listen to us on the radio or download our podcasts, like On the Media or New Tech City.

I guess I’m predicting more work for me and my colleagues. But I’m also predicting bigger audiences than ever for high-quality audio journalism.

Jim Schachter is vice president of news at WNYC in New York.

POSTED     Dec. 17, 2013, 10:17 a.m.
PART OF A SERIES     Predictions for Journalism 2014
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
iOS 8: How 5 news orgs have updated their apps for Apple’s new operating system
ABC, the AP, Breaking News, The Guardian, and The New York Times have all updated apps (or introduced new ones) to take advantage of new features on iOS 8.
How the new Wall Street Journal iPad app is taking advantage of new features in iOS 8
The app, released with the operating system today, has more functionality in notifications and lets users continue reading articles across Apple devices.
The Baffler: The anti-innovation magazine embraces digital
With a brand new website, The Baffler seeks the audience and impact it missed the first time around.
What to read next
749
tweets
How a Norwegian public radio station is using Snapchat to connect young listeners with news
“A lot of people check their phones before they get out of the bed in the morning, and they check social media before the news sites.”
724When it comes to chasing clicks, journalists say one thing but feel pressure to do another
Newsroom ethnographer Angèle Christin studied digital publications in France and the U.S. in order to compare how performance metrics influence culture.
691Wearables could make the “glance” a new subatomic unit of news
“The audience wants to go faster. This can’t be solved with responsive design; it demands an original approach, certainly at the start.”
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
The Awl
EveryBlock
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Animal Político
Slate
New Jersey Newsroom
PolitiFact
Apple
InvestigateWest
Demand Media
Wired
La Nación