The next revolution is voice

“The first killer apps in this space will look a lot like an intelligent, thoughtful radio — a radio station tuned to your interests, a station that knows who you are and listens.”

The social, mobile, and touchscreen revolutions are played out. iPhone sales are flat. Every kid already has a messaging app. So any journalism institution rushing to figure out Snapchat in 2017 is fighting the last war.

So what’s next? I believe it’s voice.

steve-hennHuman beings didn’t evolve over millions of years to spend their lives staring down at tiny screens, typing with their thumbs. We evolved to talk to each other. We evolved to listen to one another.

And if you take a look at the history of computing from the 1950s to today, two things are clear: Big changes happen when computers get smaller, and how we interact with these machines become more innately human and more intuitive.

We’ve gone from flipping switches on machines the size of a house, to using punch cards, to DOS prompts, to manipulating Windows on a laptop, to a tiny touchscreen in our pocket.

And today we’re at the very beginning of the next big change — voice. Amazon’s Echo, Google Home, and Siri are simple, imperfect computers you can talk to. They’re often frustrating, but they’re getting better fast.

These new platforms are going to compete for the time in your life when you can’t look at a screen. They are going to be there when your eyes and hands are busy.

And the first killer apps in this space will look a lot like an intelligent, thoughtful radio — a radio station tuned to your interests, a station that knows who you are and listens.

Telling stories with your voice is wired into who we are as people. A decade ago, before you could break into radio, you had to own a broadcast tower and fill out a program schedule that ran 24/7. There were gatekeepers and barriers to entry. Those barriers are falling fast. Today any institution that produces incredible journalism should think about how it can leverage what its already doing to give its work a voice — and spread that voice digitally across the next big platform that’s just around the corner.

Steve Henn is cofounder of 60dB.

Libby Bawcombe   Kids board the podcast train

Dan Gillmor   Fix the demand side of news too

Claire Wardle   Verification takes center stage

Andy Rossback   The year of the user

Mathew Ingram   The Faustian Facebook dance continues

Andrew Haeg   The year of listening

Ryan McCarthy   Platforms grow up or grow more toxic

Nicholas Quah   Podcasting’s coming class war

Gabriel Snyder   The aberration of 20th-century journalism

S.P. Sullivan   Baking transparency into our routines

Mary Meehan   Feeling blue in a red state

Trushar Barot   API or die

Sarah Marshall   Focusing on the why of the click

Taylor Lorenz   “Selfie journalism” becomes a thing

Richard J. Tofel   The country doesn’t trust us — but they do believe us

David Skok   What lies beyond paywalls

Nathalie Malinarich   Making it easy

Sydette Harry   Facing journalism’s history

M. Scott Havens   Quality advertising to pair with quality content

An Xiao Mina   2017 is for the attention innovators

Jim Friedlich   A banner year for venture philanthropy

Matt Waite   The people running the media are the problem

Anita Zielina   The sales funnel reaches (and changes) the newsroom

Andrew Ramsammy   Rise of the rebel journalist

Alexis Lloyd   Public trust for private realities

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   News after advertising may look like news before advertising

Helen Havlak   Chasing mobile search results

Swati Sharma   Failing diversity is failing journalism

Cindy Royal   Preparing the digital educator-scholar hybrid

Amy Webb   Journalism as a service

Laura E. Davis   Show your work

Zizi Papacharissi   Distracted journalism looks in the mirror

Caitlin Thompson   High touch, high value

Erin Pettigrew   A year of reflection in tech

Liz Danzico   The triumph of the small

Lam Thuy Vo   The primary source in the age of mechanical multiplication

Ole Reißmann   Un-faking the news

Bill Adair   The year of the fact-checking bot

Tressie McMillan Cottom   A path through the media’s coming legitimacy crisis

Tim Griggs   The year we stop taking sides

Michael Oreskes   Reversing the erosion of democracy

Amy O'Leary   Not just covering communities, reaching them

Reyhan Harmanci   Bear witness — but then what?

P. Kim Bui   The year journalism teaches again

Carla Zanoni   Prioritizing emotional health

Sara M. Watson   There is no neutral interface

Robert Hernandez   History will exclude you, again

Umbreen Bhatti   A sense of journalists’ humanity

Rubina Madan Fillion   Snapchat grows up

Vivian Schiller   Tested like never before

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Truthiness in private spaces

Dannagal G. Young   The return of the gatekeepers

Andrew Losowsky   Building our own communities

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting stratifies into hard layers

Peter Sterne   A dangerous anti-press mix

Margarita Noriega   From pinning tweets to tweeting pins

Almar Latour   Thanks, #fakenews

Sarah Wolozin   Virtual reality on the open web

Geetika Rudra   Journalism is community

Francesco Marconi   The year of augmented writing

Matt Karolian   AI improves publishing

Scott Dodd   Nonprofits team up for impact

Juliette De Maeyer and Dominique Trudel   A rebirth of populist journalism

Pablo Boczkowski   Fake news and the future of journalism

Moreno Cruz Osório   The year of transparency in Brazilian journalism

Tim Herrera   The safe space of service journalism

Laura Walker   Authentic voices, not fake news

Jon Slade   Trusted news, at a premium

Melody Kramer   Radically rethinking design

Michael Kuntz   Trust is the new click

Emily Goligoski   Incorporating audience feedback at scale

Renée Kaplan   Pure reach has reached its limit

Alice Antheaume   A new test for French media

Jonathan Stray   A boom in responsible conservative media

Joanne Lipman   The year of the drone, really

Dan Colarusso   Let’s make live video we can love

Erin Millar   The bottom falls out of Canadian media

Ken Schwencke   Disaggregation and collection

Cory Haik   Navigating power in Trump’s America

Corey Ford   The year of the rebelpreneur

Guy Raz   Inspiration and hope will matter more than ever

Olivia Ma   The year collaboration beats competition

Juan Luis Sánchez   Your predictions are our present

Burt Herman   Local news gets interesting

Asma Khalid   The year of the newsy podcast

Mandy Velez   The audience is the source and the story

Molly de Aguiar   Philanthropists galvanize around news

Ray Soto   VR moves from experiments to immersion

Andrea Silenzi   Podcasts dive into breaking news analysis

Julia Beizer   Building a coherent core identity

Mira Lowe   News literacy, bias, and “Hamilton”

Keren Goldshlager   Defining a focus, and then saying no

Mary Walter-Brown   Getting comfortable asking for money

Rachel Schallom   Stop flying over the flyover states

Doris Truong   Connecting with diverse perspectives

Jonathan Hunt   Measurement companies get with the times

Sue Schardt   Objectivity, fairness, balance, and love

Felix Salmon   Headlines matter

Megan H. Chan   Cultural reporting goes mainstream

Kawandeep Virdee   Moving deeper than the machine of clicks

Aja Bogdanoff   Comments start pulling their weight

Mark Armstrong   Time to pay up

Rebekah Monson   Journalism is community-as-a-service

Annemarie Dooling   UGC as a path out of the bubble

Katie Zhu   The year of minority media

Dhiya Kuriakose   The year of digital detoxing

Priya Ganapati   Mobile websites are ready for reinvention

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Earn trust by working for (and with) readers

Steve Henn   The next revolution is voice

Tanya Cordrey   The resurgence of reach

Adam Thomas   The coming collaboration across Europe

Nushin Rashidian   A rise in high-price, high-value subscriptions

Hillary Frey   Forests need to burn to regrow

David Weigel   A test for online speech

Ariane Bernard   Better data about your users

Kathleen Kingsbury   Print as a premium offering

Ashley C. Woods   Local journalism will fight a new fight

Errin Haines Whack   Chaos or community?

David Chavern   Fake news gets solved

Maria Bustillos   “It’s true — I saw it on Facebook”

Sam Ford   The year we talk about our awful metrics

Millie Tran   International expansion without colonial overtones

Ståle Grut   The battle for high-quality VR

Mike Ragsdale   A smarter information diet

Elizabeth Jensen   Trust depends on the details

Bill Keller   A healthy skepticism about data

Tracie Powell   Building reader relationships

Lee Glendinning   A call for great editing

Christopher Meighan   Unlocking a deeper mobile experience

Javaun Moradi   What can we own?

Mario García   Virtual reality on mobile leaps forward

Carrie Brown-Smith   We won’t do enough

Coleen O'Lear   Back to basics

Jeremy Barr   A terrible year for Tiers B through D

Rachel Sklar   Women are going to get loud

Samantha Barry   Messaging apps go mainstream

Emi Kolawole   From empathy to community

Amie Ferris-Rotman   Вслед за Россией

Liz McMillen   The year of deep insights

Alberto Cairo   Communicating uncertainty to our readers