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Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

“Readers facing big issues will crave actionable perspectives.”

Sometimes democracies die in bright daylight.

Despite the work of journalists globally, the slide into authoritarianism is gathering pace in many parts of the world, including a few Central European nations. And despite the urgency of generation-defining issues — from climate change to trade wars, from AI and designer babies to the growing gulf between rich and poor — we’ll increasingly find that the mere reporting of facts is not enough.

There often is a vacuum between facts and action. That’s why we’ll see a sharp increase in journalism with a viewpoint: reported facts, weaponized in service of action.

Of course, this type of journalism has been around for a while, and with great success for some news organizations. In the financial information industry, the highest value has often resided in actionable information, underpinned by facts. In Western Europe, some leading news organizations come with a built-in viewpoint, often professed in the masthead. And in the formative stage of United States, viewpoint journalism helped propel the push against colonialism.

But this kind of news hasn’t been the norm, at least not in recent U.S. history. That may change. Readers facing big issues will crave actionable perspectives.

Almar Latour is publisher of Barron’s Group, until recently known as Dow Jones Media Group.

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