2
0
1
9

A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

“I believe the future will judge ‘post-truth’ phenomena as the logical next step in the technologically fuelled evolution of our collective social consciousness.”

The world’s largest democracy (and soon to be the most populous country on the planet) is in the midst of a digital tsunami. India’s 4G revolution spearheaded by Jio has made internet access available to the masses. The cost of data has fallen sharply, from $2.12 per gigabyte in August 2016 to $0.04 in December 2018. To put the sheer scale of this shift into perspective: India had 190 million smartphones users at the end of 2014. That number rose to 390 million by the end of 2017, and current projections put that figure at 829 million by 2022. India is changing, and it’s changing fast, thanks to technology.

The most salient feature of this disruption, however, has been the seismic shift in the balance of power in social discourse. Once a closely guarded citadel of our urban power centers — our beloved city-state metropolises, where information was essentially a one-way street, flowing down to the rest of the polity — social discourse has now become a two-way conversation with the continuous growth of the digitally active and savvy masses.

Journalism, media, and communication at large are going through a much-needed process of democratization. This phenomenon isn’t restricted to India — it’s a global transformation taking place across all countries, fuelled by access to the digital world and accelerated by social media. Our social spheres are evolving at a rate unseen in our entire history.

The entry of these divergent and often incompatible views has begun the process of leveling the playing field in mass communication, which naturally unnerves its traditional occupants and dominant players. They in turn — as a strategy to avoid ceding ground — have suddenly developed a voyeuristic obsession with labels and counter-labels to differentiate the “us” from “them.” Globalists, nationalists, snowflakes, alt-right, alt-left, fake news — the list just keeps growing.

The one label I find particularly interesting is “post-truth.” Apparently, we live in a post-truth world where some people just inherently know the truth — they’re innately aware of right and wrong. Meanwhile, the rest of the lot, even with all the world’s information at their fingertips, just aren’t capable of finding it. They apparently lack the judgment to know right from wrong. They’re meant to follow those that know better. And if data is to be believed, most of the souls in that category haven’t yet made the jump from their rural lives to our urban universe.

The future, though currently molded by residents of city-states, lies with those outside of it, the masses — those who’ve recently, for the first time, acquired through social media and the internet, a voice in our collective discourse.

Their truths are challenging ours, knocking on our tiny little smart screens every day. Their realities, though very different from ours, are in fact their realities, shaping their everyday decisions and fears. While their tone may be harsh and their demeanor different, their fears are as legitimate as our own. But our first reaction, as always, has been to mock them — then to label it with something catchy, clever, and demeaning. And now we’re diligently working to build barriers to access and expression through censorship and social media bans — in the name of the greater good.

The need of the hour is for us to analyze these multiple truths with empathy. Give them time to be heard. Allow divergent thoughts space to coexist, grow, and evolve, to develop a new iteration of collective wisdom to drive our societies forward.

2019 will belong to those who harness this diversity of multiple truths to create a more robust “post-truth” society. 2019 will redefine our current understanding of this world and hopefully allow us to accommodate those who, outside of elections, have seldom had the means to influence our collective narrative.

I believe the future will judge “post-truth” phenomena as the logical next step in the technologically fuelled evolution of our collective social consciousness.

Shalabh Upadhyay is the founder and storyteller-in-chief of NEWJ.

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

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

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

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

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

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

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

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

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

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

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

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

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

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

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

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

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

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

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

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

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

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

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

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

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

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

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

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

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Hearken   Pivot to people

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

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

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

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

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

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

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

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

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

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

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

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

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

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

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

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

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

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

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

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

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

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

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

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

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

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

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

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

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

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

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

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

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

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

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

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

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

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

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

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

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

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

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

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

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

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

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

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

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

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

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

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

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

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

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

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

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

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

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration