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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Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

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Jake Levine   The return to now

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Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

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Almar Latour   Conquering calm

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

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Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

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Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

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Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

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Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

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Sally Lehrman   Trust comes first

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Seeking trust in fragmented spaces

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

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

Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

Jarrod Dicker   Honesty in advertising

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Nathalie Malinarich   Peak push

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

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

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

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Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

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

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

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

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

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Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

Vivian Schiller   Pivot to tomorrow

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

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Umbreen Bhatti   The trust problem isn’t new

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

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Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

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Raney Aronson-Rath   Transparency is the antidote to fake news

Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

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Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

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Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

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Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

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