“Selfie journalism” becomes a thing

“Because it produces better content, and because audiences that can go anywhere to get their news are increasingly demanding to be both informed and moved.”

The wide adoption of social media has made it easy to report on breaking news events without ever leaving the comfort of your desk. There are witnesses to be contacted through Instagram, from-the-scene photos to be embedded, and relevant tweets to be collected. This content, once curated, can be packaged into a neat little story and shared widely on Facebook.

taylorlorenzDon’t get me wrong: I don’t expect this kind of social aggregation-heavy content creation to go anywhere. But next year, I think we’ll start to see shoe-leather, on-the-ground social reporting come into vogue, as platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook Live facilitate and reward it.

And why should reporters actually leave the office — you know, with their actual bodies? Because it produces better content, and because audiences that can go anywhere to get their news are increasingly demanding to be both informed and moved.

Using platforms like Periscope or Snapchat, it’s nearly impossible to create compelling news-oriented content without being where the action is. Facebook and YouTube have also recently introduced live, 360-degree video because they see the value in allowing journalists to engage directly with their audience and develop a deep rapport with viewers that makes them want to come back. There’s just a certain authenticity to the form that knocks pre-produced videos out of the water.

Cooper Fleishman, an editorial director for Mic.com, told me that some of the site’s best-performing videos are face-to-camera selfie videos, narrated by reporters. He said people “want to feel like they’re there with the reporter,” and that requires journalists to get out there. Business Insider’s INSIDER brand has used live-video platforms to get viewers into cool places both in the U.S. and abroad, including the State Fair of Texas and the Blue Lagoon in Iceland.

Talya Minsberg, a social strategy editor at The New York Times, spoke of a “certain intimacy” to face-to-camera videos that viewers really enjoy and respond to. That’s also been my experience. When covering everything from large-scale protests, to tech conferences, to the 2016 election, I’ve found that in-the-moment content and livestreams are often more compelling and reach a larger audience than the stories I eventually file (though there is certainly value in both).

In 2016, any Macedonian teenager can quickly aggregate a viral news story. That’s why it’s so important for people to leave their desks and go be a viewer’s eyes and ears. And, in this increasingly competitive media landscape, I expect publishers to recognize that competitive advantage and encourage their journalists to run wild.

Taylor Lorenz is the director of emerging platforms at The Hill.

Amy Webb   Journalism as a service

Renée Kaplan   Pure reach has reached its limit

Cory Haik   Navigating power in Trump’s America

An Xiao Mina   2017 is for the attention innovators

Coleen O'Lear   Back to basics

Ariane Bernard   Better data about your users

Steve Henn   The next revolution is voice

Ken Schwencke   Disaggregation and collection

Gabriel Snyder   The aberration of 20th-century journalism

Laura E. Davis   Show your work

Jonathan Stray   A boom in responsible conservative media

Moreno Cruz Osório   The year of transparency in Brazilian journalism

Matt Karolian   AI improves publishing

Reyhan Harmanci   Bear witness — but then what?

Amie Ferris-Rotman   Вслед за Россией

Robert Hernandez   History will exclude you, again

Dan Colarusso   Let’s make live video we can love

Andrew Haeg   The year of listening

Carla Zanoni   Prioritizing emotional health

Felix Salmon   Headlines matter

Erin Pettigrew   A year of reflection in tech

Jim Friedlich   A banner year for venture philanthropy

Sam Ford   The year we talk about our awful metrics

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting stratifies into hard layers

Claire Wardle   Verification takes center stage

Alice Antheaume   A new test for French media

Mark Armstrong   Time to pay up

Dhiya Kuriakose   The year of digital detoxing

Ståle Grut   The battle for high-quality VR

Christopher Meighan   Unlocking a deeper mobile experience

Olivia Ma   The year collaboration beats competition

Pablo Boczkowski   Fake news and the future of journalism

David Skok   What lies beyond paywalls

Emily Goligoski   Incorporating audience feedback at scale

Javaun Moradi   What can we own?

Priya Ganapati   Mobile websites are ready for reinvention

Tim Griggs   The year we stop taking sides

Trushar Barot   API or die

Ray Soto   VR moves from experiments to immersion

Elizabeth Jensen   Trust depends on the details

David Weigel   A test for online speech

Hillary Frey   Forests need to burn to regrow

Cindy Royal   Preparing the digital educator-scholar hybrid

Katie Zhu   The year of minority media

Samantha Barry   Messaging apps go mainstream

Carrie Brown-Smith   We won’t do enough

Mira Lowe   News literacy, bias, and “Hamilton”

Mary Meehan   Feeling blue in a red state

Asma Khalid   The year of the newsy podcast

Mandy Velez   The audience is the source and the story

Keren Goldshlager   Defining a focus, and then saying no

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

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

Michael Oreskes   Reversing the erosion of democracy

Zizi Papacharissi   Distracted journalism looks in the mirror

Annemarie Dooling   UGC as a path out of the bubble

Bill Keller   A healthy skepticism about data

Alexis Lloyd   Public trust for private realities

Bill Adair   The year of the fact-checking bot

Juliette De Maeyer and Dominique Trudel   A rebirth of populist journalism

Nathalie Malinarich   Making it easy

Andrew Losowsky   Building our own communities

Andy Rossback   The year of the user

Tracie Powell   Building reader relationships

Andrew Ramsammy   Rise of the rebel journalist

David Chavern   Fake news gets solved

Tim Herrera   The safe space of service journalism

Andrea Silenzi   Podcasts dive into breaking news analysis

Kawandeep Virdee   Moving deeper than the machine of clicks

Libby Bawcombe   Kids board the podcast train

Erin Millar   The bottom falls out of Canadian media

Vivian Schiller   Tested like never before

Ashley C. Woods   Local journalism will fight a new fight

Kathleen Kingsbury   Print as a premium offering

Sue Schardt   Objectivity, fairness, balance, and love

Dannagal G. Young   The return of the gatekeepers

Peter Sterne   A dangerous anti-press mix

Geetika Rudra   Journalism is community

Umbreen Bhatti   A sense of journalists’ humanity

Mathew Ingram   The Faustian Facebook dance continues

Swati Sharma   Failing diversity is failing journalism

Liz Danzico   The triumph of the small

Millie Tran   International expansion without colonial overtones

Burt Herman   Local news gets interesting

P. Kim Bui   The year journalism teaches again

Molly de Aguiar   Philanthropists galvanize around news

Guy Raz   Inspiration and hope will matter more than ever

Sara M. Watson   There is no neutral interface

Rachel Schallom   Stop flying over the flyover states

Errin Haines   Chaos or community?

Taylor Lorenz   “Selfie journalism” becomes a thing

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

Sydette Harry   Facing journalism’s history

Jonathan Hunt   Measurement companies get with the times

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

Jon Slade   Trusted news, at a premium

S.P. Sullivan   Baking transparency into our routines

Joanne Lipman   The year of the drone, really

Rubina Madan Fillion   Snapchat grows up

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

Ole Reißmann   Un-faking the news

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

Matt Waite   The people running the media are the problem

Almar Latour   Thanks, #fakenews

Amy O'Leary   Not just covering communities, reaching them

Helen Havlak   Chasing mobile search results

Alberto Cairo   Communicating uncertainty to our readers

Jeremy Barr   A terrible year for Tiers B through D

Liz McMillen   The year of deep insights

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

M. Scott Havens   Quality advertising to pair with quality content

Caitlin Thompson   High touch, high value

Tanya Cordrey   The resurgence of reach

Laura Walker   Authentic voices, not fake news

Melody Kramer   Radically rethinking design

Juan Luis Sánchez   Your predictions are our present

Aja Bogdanoff   Comments start pulling their weight

Sarah Marshall   Focusing on the why of the click

Margarita Noriega   From pinning tweets to tweeting pins

Sarah Wolozin   Virtual reality on the open web

Michael Kuntz   Trust is the new click

Emi Kolawole   From empathy to community

Francesco Marconi   The year of augmented writing

Doris Truong   Connecting with diverse perspectives

Megan H. Chan   Cultural reporting goes mainstream

Nicholas Quah   Podcasting’s coming class war

Lee Glendinning   A call for great editing

Dan Gillmor   Fix the demand side of news too

Julia Beizer   Building a coherent core identity

Mike Ragsdale   A smarter information diet

Rachel Sklar   Women are going to get loud

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

Scott Dodd   Nonprofits team up for impact

Ryan McCarthy   Platforms grow up or grow more toxic

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Truthiness in private spaces

Mario García   Virtual reality on mobile leaps forward

Mary Walter-Brown   Getting comfortable asking for money

Rebekah Monson   Journalism is community-as-a-service

Adam Thomas   The coming collaboration across Europe

Corey Ford   The year of the rebelpreneur