The arc of news and audience

“There’s been a reckoning in digital media, and hopefully, a recognition that the very thing we once decried as commodity journalism is also necessary journalism. Like milk and coffee and electricity, news is needed. Facts, verified, analyzed, contextualized, matter.”

We need to do news better.

I’ve been a part of at least four new ventures in my career. Each began with a certain disdain for news. Each ended (two are still around) with the realization we needed to break more news.

There’s been a reckoning in digital media, and hopefully, a recognition that the very thing we once decried as commodity journalism is also necessary journalism. Like milk and coffee and electricity, news is needed. Facts, verified, analyzed, contextualized, matter.

We also need to change how and when we’re delivering them.

This is the arc of a news story. You can plot many events of this past year on the curve: inauguration, hurricanes, awards shows, mass shootings. (Oh, 2017, where to begin?)

This is where we tend to focus our delivery of journalism.

This is the arc of audience engagement with a live news story. Notice how the growth trajectory is at odds with how and when we deliver the news, pictured above.

In 2018, we must meet their demand and bring audience into the process of reporting in real time. Some of this has already been forced upon us. Witness the coverage of #MeToo and the swift downfall of those accused; I can’t help but think back to days when we didn’t report on sexual misconduct unless a police report had been filed. Another hashtag (#BlackLivesMatter) also reminds us to question the same sources that once set our news agenda.

It’s hard work to reconcile conflicting accounts in the moment, but that’s the difference between stenography and journalism. When we offer transparency into what we know, what we don’t know and how we know what we know, we gain trust. And we can certainly use more of that in 2018, too.

S. Mitra Kalita is the vice president for programming at CNN Digital.

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Paul Ford   Go global

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Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

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

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Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

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Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

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Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

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Lam Thuy Vo   Breaking free from the tyranny of the loudest

Jamie Mottram   From pageviews to t-shirts

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

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Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

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Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

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Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

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Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

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Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

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Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

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Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

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Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

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

Burt Herman   Things get real

Niketa Patel   Live journalism comes of age

Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

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Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

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Cindy Royal   Your journalism curriculum is obsolete

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

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Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

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Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

Renée Kaplan   The year of quiet adjustments (shhh)

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Debra Adams Simmons   And a woman shall lead them

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Seeking trust in fragmented spaces

Will Sommer   The year local media gets conservative

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

Molly de Aguiar   Good journalism won’t be enough

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

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Nathalie Malinarich   Peak push

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

Basile Simon   We need better career paths for news nerds

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

Jake Levine   The return to now

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Ruth Palmer   Risks will grow for news subjects — especially minorities

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Fortifying social media from automated inauthenticity

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

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

Alice Antheaume   Are you fluent in AI?

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Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

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Borja Echevarría   TV goes digital, digital goes TV

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Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

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John Keefe   Scooped by AI

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Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

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Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

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

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Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

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Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

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

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Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience