Pivot to tomorrow

“Will all this have a massive impact in 2018? Maybe not. But I’m reminded of the Bill Gates line that we always overestimate the change that will come in the next two years and underestimate the change that will come in 10.”

The big challenges facing the news industry were all-consuming in 2017, and rightly so. On top of a relentless news cycle, newsrooms were focused on partisan attacks, information disorders, changing revenue models, the move to mobile, and the ever-changing dynamics with the platforms. In other words, today’s reality.

In 2018, publishers will begin to make room for tomorrow’s reality, in which new AI-driven technologies upend the way consumers seek, discover, consume, and share news and information. Over the next few years, advances in natural language processing, voice recognition, augmented reality, and automation will change consumer behavior to the point that some people predict the end of smartphones as we know them today.

Let’s group AI’s impact on news into three big buckets:

  • Voice: More than 25 percent of Alexa owners use voice to learn about news, despite the fact that “skills” from news organizations are still pretty rudimentary. Imagine the possibilities once we figure out more native ways to engage people using interactive voice commands, and when voice-enabled digital assistants — either standalone speakers or embedded in other devices — become ubiquitous. Adoption is expected to grow to 75 million active U.S. users by 2019. As many as 870 million voice assisted devices could be in circulation in the U.S. by 2022. Will we be ready?
  • Vision: Augmented reality is moving from toyto utility. With ARKit and ARCore now preinstalled in new Apple and Android phones, AR will enter the mainstream. The AR phone experience may not be a mainstream game-changer immediately, but it’s a gateway to what’s coming next. Facebook predicts that “full, always-on, go-everywhere audio-visual AR glasses” will be here in 5 years, ushering in seismic change as profound as we saw with the adoption of smartphones, if not more so. What does this mean for news? Will we be ready?
  • Automation: Content automation will change the nature of reporting and publishing. Already, 58 percent of marketing and advertising executives expect to use automated content next year. Automated news is no replacement for serious original journalism, but it will undoubtedly have both positive and negative ramifications to the new ecosystem. Automation will make lower-level tasks more efficient, but low-quality and false news from bad actors will more easily scale. Will we be ready?

Will all this have a massive impact in 2018? Maybe not. But I’m reminded of the Bill Gates line that we always overestimate the change that will come in the next two years and underestimate the change that will come in 10. Are news organizations thinking about what AI will mean for business models? For access to quality information? For content discovery? For news gathering? For fake news? For employee skills, staffing, and work flow? Are journalism schools preparing the next generation of news leaders? I think the answer so far, is mostly — no. But in 2018, the awakening will begin.

Vivian Schiller is executive editor in residence at Weber Shandwick.

Ruth Palmer   Risks will grow for news subjects — especially minorities

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

Nathalie Malinarich   Peak push

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Claire Wardle   Disinformation gets worse

Hossein Derakhshan   Television has won

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Fortifying social media from automated inauthenticity

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Amie Ferris-Rotman   More female reporters abroad (please)

Raney Aronson-Rath   Transparency is the antidote to fake news

Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

P. Kim Bui   The reckoning is only beginning

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

Tanya Cordrey   Finally, the seeds of radical reinvention

Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

Ray Soto   VR reaches the next level

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

Dan Shanoff   You down with OTT? (Yeah, DTC)

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

Feli Sánchez   The year for guerrilla user research

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Julia B. Chan   Looking for loyalty in all the right places

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

An Xiao Mina   Memes and visuals come to the fore

Andrew Losowsky   The year of resilience

Kawandeep Virdee   Zines had it right all along

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Vanessa K. DeLuca   Women’s voices take center stage

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

Sally Lehrman   Trust comes first

Mariano Blejman   News games rule

Trushar Barot   The Jio-fication of India

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

Tanzina Vega   It’s time for media companies to #PassTheMic

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

Renée Kaplan   The year of quiet adjustments (shhh)

Jarrod Dicker   Honesty in advertising

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

Rodney Benson   Better, less read, and less trusted

Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

Paul Ford   Go global

Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

Nushin Rashidian   Publishers seek ad dollar alternatives

Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

Manoush Zomorodi   Self-help as a publishing strategy

Alan Soon   The rise of start of psychographic, micro-targeted media

Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

Burt Herman   Things get real

Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

Borja Echevarría   TV goes digital, digital goes TV

Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

Jim Brady   With the people, not just of the people

Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

Aron Pilhofer   We can’t leave the business to the business side any more

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Seeking trust in fragmented spaces

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

Eric Ulken   The year local publishers get smart(er) about change

L. Gordon Crovitz   Serving readers over advertisers

Basile Simon   We need better career paths for news nerds

Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

Will Sommer   The year local media gets conservative

Jim Moroney   Newspapers have to be good enough for readers to pay for

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Molly de Aguiar   Good journalism won’t be enough

Jamie Mottram   From pageviews to t-shirts

Rodney Gibbs   Tech workers turn to journalism

Lanre Akinola   Making noise is not a strategy

Niketa Patel   Live journalism comes of age

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

Marcela Donini and Thiago Herdy   Collaboration is the way forward for Brazilian journalism

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

Helen Havlak   Keywords, not publishers, power the world’s biggest feeds

Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

Alice Antheaume   Are you fluent in AI?

Sydette Harry   Listen to your corner and watch for the hook

C.W. Anderson   The social media apocalypse

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

Jesse Holcomb   Information disorder, coming to a congressional district near you

Susie Banikarim   R.I.P. Pivot to Video (2017–2017)

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

Millie Tran and Stine Bauer Dahlberg   (Hint: It’s about your brand)

Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

Jake Levine   The return to now

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Women of color will reclaim and monetize our time

Sara M. Watson   Feeds will open up to new user-determined filters

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

Debra Adams Simmons   And a woman shall lead them

Cristina Wilson   The year of the Instagram Story

Luke O'Neil   The end is already here

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

John Keefe   Scooped by AI

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

Michelle Ferrier   The year of the great reckoning

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

Carlos Martínez de la Serna   The new journalism commons

Sue Schardt   Jump the niche

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   Skepticism and narcissism

Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

Umbreen Bhatti   The trust problem isn’t new

Richard J. Tofel   The platforms’ power demands more reporters’ attention

Vivian Schiller   Pivot to tomorrow

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

Cindy Royal   Your journalism curriculum is obsolete

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   The Snapchat scenario and the risk of more closed platforms

Lam Thuy Vo   Breaking free from the tyranny of the loudest

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

Errin Haines Whack   At the ballot, it’s time to count black women

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer