2
0
1
9

The news is dying, but journalism will not — and should not

“It is losing its cultural relevance after almost two centuries — and thereby its commodity value.”

The core crisis of journalism is not about business models, quality, ethics, or trust. It is that news, the heart of journalism, is dying. It is losing its cultural relevance after almost two centuries — and thereby its commodity value.

News was a cultural invention, according to media scholar James W. Carey, that emerged at a specific time and space for particular needs.

It was at the dawn of globalization when telegraph technology began to fundamentally change the way news was gathered and produced. Suddenly the world grew bigger after the break away from time and space which telegraph caused. The telegraph “allowed symbols to move independently and faster than transportation,” wrote Carey. The small but quickly expanding population of literate citizens started to situate itself in a very different world from fiction. “News both forms and reflects a particular ‘hunger for experience,’ a desire to do away with the epic, heroic, and traditional in favor of the unique, original, novel, new—news.”

Now after the invention of global satellite televisions, affordable international air travel, and of course the internet and social media, news has lost its monopoly on the sense of globality it once generated.

Meanwhile, in reaction to speedy and at times excessive and careless global movement of capital, goods, and work, more and more disillusioned people come to walk the opposite direction — from the global toward the local. Look at the rise of artisan shops, local markets, and craft movement, as well as the growing national, religious, and racial prejudices. Or look at how the local news now to most people (and social media platforms) mean selfies and stories from friends and family (or from celebrities who are our de-facto cousins) instead of city or state politics.

News used to be the main source of daily drama for the expanding literate class. It was what many people used as ice-breaker to communicate with their partners, colleagues and friends. But gradually with the invention of cinema, television, video games, YouTube, Twitter, and Netflix there are many other things than news to discuss at breakfast table — if there is still such a thing.

The result is a bifurcation: 1) A short-form journalism which is growingly produced by news makers than news outlets directly (tweets by politicians or local police or authorities) and few people are ready to pay for them; 2) A long-form narrative journalism in text, audio, and video which are symbolized by non-fiction books, documentary podcasts, and video documentaries — all with steady or growing market appeal.

The truth is that the news is dying, but journalism will not — and should not. If, as Carey once urged, journalism and democracy are synonymous with public conversation, the crisis of journalism can only be a reflection of the crisis of democracy.

The challenge for journalism in the years to come is to reinvent itself around something other than news, whilst resisting the seduction of propaganda and entertainment.

I personally think that post-news journalism will revolve around drama. This means we should make various experiments inspired by older artistic forms such as literature, theatre, cinema, photography and even music and dance.

Innovation in journalism should not only be about business models or technology, it should be also about radically new cultural forms and representation formats.

Hossein Derakhshan is a research affiliate at MIT Media Lab and a research fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center.

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Seth C. Lewis   The gap between journalism and research is too wide

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Carrie Brown-Smith   Advocating a healthy civic life is no journalistic crime

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Amy Schmitz Weiss   Local news isn’t where you thought it was

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Glyn Mottershead and Martin Chorley   When a tech company pulls the plug on your story

Whitney Phillips   Our information systems aren’t broken — they’re working as intended

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Hearken   Pivot to people

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Frank Chimero   Leave the phone at home and put news on your wrist

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Matt Waite   “I went to Node.js because I wished to live deliberately”

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Robin Kwong   Tech shouldn’t be the only field pollinating “news nerds”

Jenée Desmond-Harris   It finally sinks in that some people aren’t white

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   A long, slow slog, with no one coming to the rescue

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Alyssa Zeisler   We expand what (and how and who) we serve

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Simon Galperin   After capitalism’s fire, journalism’s secondary succession

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Cindy Royal   For journalism curriculum to change, its faculty needs disruption

Mike Rispoli and Craig Aaron   Government funds local news — and that’s a good thing

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Steve Myers   From trying to cover it all to covering what matters

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Tushar Banerjee   Interactive ads will be the new face of display advertising

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Claire Wardle   Forget deepfakes: Misinformation is showing up in our most personal online spaces

Tshepo Tshabalala   Ahead of African elections, unlock partnerships with fact-checkers

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Cătălina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Alexandra Borchardt   Newsrooms need to build trust with their journalists, not just the audience

Heather Chaplin   Agree we’re partisan — for the democratic system

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Pia Frey   You can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Angilee Shah   The year news orgs say “yes” to real leaders

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Zainab Khan   Publishers whose products can stand up to social media giants will win

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Adam B. Ellick   Video forensic reporting goes mainstream — and local

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Jonathan Stray   More algorithmic accountability reporting, and a lot of it will be meh

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   The most beautiful sentence in 2019 is “No.”

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Tyler Fisher   This is journalism’s do-or-die moment

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

james Wahutu   Think 2018 was bad? Wait until you see 2019

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau   A more sincere definition of “community”

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Jennifer Dargan   You don’t build diversity through one-off training sessions

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Sarah Stonbely   Mapping the local news ecosystem — with scale but detail

Hossein Derakhshan   The news is dying, but journalism will not — and should not

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Amy King   We should listen to the kids (especially on Instagram)

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Millie Tran   There is no magic — you’ve got this

Kjerstin Thorson   Time to get mad about information inequality (again)

Cristi Hegranes   A year to invest in the security of local journalists

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Frank Mungeam   Tonight at 11: News, sports, and climate change

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Axie Navas   The traffic hunt, CMS battle, and magazine identity crises loom

Raney Aronson-Rath   We learn “digital” doesn’t have to mean “short”

Elisabeth Goodridge   Yes, they signed up — but our job’s not over

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Manoush Zomorodi   Tech will do for information overload what it did for mindfulness

Errin Haines Whack   Say it with me: Racism

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Mike Isaac   The old exit doors for digital media companies are closing

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Efrat Nechushtai   Journalism wants to be your friend, not your teacher

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

An Xiao Mina   The death of consensus, not the death of truth

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Stephanie Edgerly   It’s time to understand the un-audience

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Jesse Holcomb   We’ll get better at making the case for local journalism

Matt Karolian   Publishers come to terms with being Facebook’s enablers

Umbreen Bhatti   The story doesn’t end for the people we quote

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Rebecca Lee Sanchez   We are all actors in the running rampant of political theater

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera