The people running the media are the problem

“It’s the safest prediction I could make beyond the sun coming up in the morning: You won’t fix this.”

This month, I spent a week surrounded by bright, well-meaning journalism and tech thinkers. Session after session, day after day, conversations kept coming back to these questions: How do we restore trust in media? How do we reach Middle America? What do we do about fake news?

matt-waiteHere’s my prediction for 2017. It’s the safest prediction I could make beyond the sun coming up in the morning. It’s aimed right at the people who run news organizations.

You won’t fix this. Any of this. Not in 2017. Not soon.

You won’t fix trust in news because…

You won’t fix how news gets made because…

You won’t fix how you hire senior leadership to diversify your thinking because…

You won’t fix what stories are selected because…

You won’t change who you hire to do the stories because…

You won’t fix the ways that stories are written to be more transparent and more directly sourced to give people a reason to trust you because…

You won’t fix the lack of training in newsrooms that could retrain reporters to source stories more explicitly because…

You won’t fix the content management systems to require sourcing on stories to be transparent and structured and visible because…

You won’t fix the technology leadership in the company because…

You won’t fix the thinking that makes you believe you’re not a technology company because…

You won’t fix the belief that trust and fake news is Google and Facebook’s problems and not yours because…

You still don’t believe you’re the problem.

Wake me when you do.

Matt Waite is founder of the Drone Journalism Lab and a journalism professor at the University of Nebraska.

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Tim Griggs   The year we stop taking sides

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Melody Kramer   Radically rethinking design

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Carla Zanoni   Prioritizing emotional health

Mary Meehan   Feeling blue in a red state

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S.P. Sullivan   Baking transparency into our routines

Alice Antheaume   A new test for French media

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Javaun Moradi   What can we own?

Coleen O'Lear   Back to basics

Sydette Harry   Facing journalism’s history

Dannagal G. Young   The return of the gatekeepers

M. Scott Havens   Quality advertising to pair with quality content

Emily Goligoski   Incorporating audience feedback at scale

Mira Lowe   News literacy, bias, and “Hamilton”

Mario García   Virtual reality on mobile leaps forward

Carrie Brown-Smith   We won’t do enough

Swati Sharma   Failing diversity is failing journalism

Matt Karolian   AI improves publishing

Sam Ford   The year we talk about our awful metrics

Sara M. Watson   There is no neutral interface

An Xiao Mina   2017 is for the attention innovators

Liz Danzico   The triumph of the small

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

Juliette De Maeyer and Dominique Trudel   A rebirth of populist journalism

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Margarita Noriega   From pinning tweets to tweeting pins

Amy Webb   Journalism as a service

Matt Waite   The people running the media are the problem

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

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Renée Kaplan   Pure reach has reached its limit

Rachel Schallom   Stop flying over the flyover states

Adam Thomas   The coming collaboration across Europe

Bill Keller   A healthy skepticism about data

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

Elizabeth Jensen   Trust depends on the details

Annemarie Dooling   UGC as a path out of the bubble

Francesco Marconi   The year of augmented writing

Millie Tran   International expansion without colonial overtones

Sarah Marshall   Focusing on the why of the click

Mike Ragsdale   A smarter information diet

Megan H. Chan   Cultural reporting goes mainstream

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Vivian Schiller   Tested like never before

Pablo Boczkowski   Fake news and the future of journalism

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

Robert Hernandez   History will exclude you, again

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Samantha Barry   Messaging apps go mainstream

Laura E. Davis   Show your work

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Helen Havlak   Chasing mobile search results

Julia Beizer   Building a coherent core identity

Caitlin Thompson   High touch, high value

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Jonathan Stray   A boom in responsible conservative media

Jim Friedlich   A banner year for venture philanthropy

Dan Gillmor   Fix the demand side of news too

Ryan McCarthy   Platforms grow up or grow more toxic

Joanne Lipman   The year of the drone, really

Christopher Meighan   Unlocking a deeper mobile experience

Trushar Barot   API or die

Asma Khalid   The year of the newsy podcast

Jonathan Hunt   Measurement companies get with the times

Zizi Papacharissi   Distracted journalism looks in the mirror

Alberto Cairo   Communicating uncertainty to our readers

Steve Henn   The next revolution is voice

Cory Haik   Navigating power in Trump’s America

Nathalie Malinarich   Making it easy

Jeremy Barr   A terrible year for Tiers B through D

Burt Herman   Local news gets interesting

Tracie Powell   Building reader relationships

David Chavern   Fake news gets solved

Gabriel Snyder   The aberration of 20th-century journalism

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Nicholas Quah   Podcasting’s coming class war

Taylor Lorenz   “Selfie journalism” becomes a thing

Jon Slade   Trusted news, at a premium

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Amy O'Leary   Not just covering communities, reaching them

David Weigel   A test for online speech

Guy Raz   Inspiration and hope will matter more than ever

P. Kim Bui   The year journalism teaches again

Libby Bawcombe   Kids board the podcast train

Rubina Madan Fillion   Snapchat grows up

Claire Wardle   Verification takes center stage

Mary Walter-Brown   Getting comfortable asking for money

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Andrew Ramsammy   Rise of the rebel journalist

Geetika Rudra   Journalism is community

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