20200
P
1
20100
R  E
2
2070
D   I   C
3
2050
T   I   O   N
4
2040
S   F   O   R   J
5
2030
O  U  R  N  A  L
6
2020
I  S  M  2  0  2  0
7

A call for context

“Proper context will require that news outlets understand the political, economic, historical, and social environments of the places, people, and events that they report on.”

News is data placed in context.

Context is ever more important in this era of data-driven elections, social media, and emerging technology. While rapid and iterative distribution, data journalism, and hot takes are now normal parts of how we get information, the sheer speed of delivery is in no way a replacement for providing a holistic view of the events, occurrences, activities, and other things that make the news.

To be sure, a holistic approach, one that grounds data — reporting — in the particular social environment, would go a long way in reversing the loss of trust in mainstream journalism. Recent reporting lacking context has caused a national broadcaster to have to place an editor’s note” on social media posts promoting its story on the sentiments of those who attended a political rally. A similar lack of context allowed many to be mislead into believing that a Democratic victory was assured in the 2016 presidential elections, based on forecasts from various data-oriented sites failing to adequately explain the wide margins of error in the predictions.

When there have been attempts at providing more depth, a lack of grounding — of understanding the historic foundations of communities — has hampered more complete interpretations of the political environment. In a quest to understand rural and other undercovered parts of the United States, for example, news outlets have ignored the black, native, and other people of color who live there.

Proper context, then, will require that news outlets understand the political, economic, historical, and social environments of the places, people, and events that they report on. The journalistic organizations perhaps best placed to do this are those located within specific communities, those employing a critical mass of representatives of various communities, and those taking the time to understand the context of the data they collect and report.

To be sure, journalism matters. Journalism that allows for the creation of a more full picture, a better understanding of the topic of focus, matters more for our being able to grasp why things are the way that they are.

Jasmine McNealy is an associate professor at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications.

News is data placed in context.

Context is ever more important in this era of data-driven elections, social media, and emerging technology. While rapid and iterative distribution, data journalism, and hot takes are now normal parts of how we get information, the sheer speed of delivery is in no way a replacement for providing a holistic view of the events, occurrences, activities, and other things that make the news.

To be sure, a holistic approach, one that grounds data — reporting — in the particular social environment, would go a long way in reversing the loss of trust in mainstream journalism. Recent reporting lacking context has caused a national broadcaster to have to place an editor’s note” on social media posts promoting its story on the sentiments of those who attended a political rally. A similar lack of context allowed many to be mislead into believing that a Democratic victory was assured in the 2016 presidential elections, based on forecasts from various data-oriented sites failing to adequately explain the wide margins of error in the predictions.

When there have been attempts at providing more depth, a lack of grounding — of understanding the historic foundations of communities — has hampered more complete interpretations of the political environment. In a quest to understand rural and other undercovered parts of the United States, for example, news outlets have ignored the black, native, and other people of color who live there.

Proper context, then, will require that news outlets understand the political, economic, historical, and social environments of the places, people, and events that they report on. The journalistic organizations perhaps best placed to do this are those located within specific communities, those employing a critical mass of representatives of various communities, and those taking the time to understand the context of the data they collect and report.

To be sure, journalism matters. Journalism that allows for the creation of a more full picture, a better understanding of the topic of focus, matters more for our being able to grasp why things are the way that they are.

Jasmine McNealy is an associate professor at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications.

Tonya Mosley   The neutrality vs. objectivity game ends

Monica Drake   A renewed focus on misinformation

Zizi Papacharissi   A president leads, the press follows, reality fades

Talia Stroud   The work of reconnecting starts November 4

Stefanie Murray   Charitable giving goes collaborative

Mira Lowe   The year of student-powered journalism

Tom Glaisyer   Journalism can emerge newly vibrant and powerful

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting finally creates another mega-hit show

Linda Solomon Wood   Everyone in your organization, moving toward a common goal

Nathalie Malinarich   Betting on loyalty

Kourtney Bitterly   Transparency isn’t just a desire, it’s an expectation

Kathleen Searles   Pay more attention to attention

Dannagal G. Young   Let’s disrupt the logic that’s driving Americans apart

Sarah Alvarez   I’m ready for post-news

Candis Callison   Taking a cue from Indigenous journalists on climate change

Sarah Schmalbach   Journalist, quantify thyself

Alana Levinson   Brand-backed media gets another look

Mary Walter-Brown and Tristan Loper   Power to the people (on your audience team)

Brenda P. Salinas   Treating MP3 files like text

Beena Raghavendran   The year of the local engagement reporter

Julia B. Chan   We 👏 take 👏 breaks 👏

Jeremy Gilbert and Jarrod Dicker   A call for collaboration between storytelling and tech

Marie Gilot   This is fine

Brian Moritz   The end of “stick to sports”

Joni Deutsch   Podcasting unsilences the silent

Richard Tofel   A constraint of the reader-revenue model emerges

Nikki Usher   All systems down

Anthony Nadler   Clash of Clans: Election Edition

Craig Newmark   Formalizing newsrooms’ battle against disinformation

J. Siguru Wahutu   Western journalists, learn from your African peers

Colleen Shalby   Journalists become media literacy teachers

Cristina Kim   Public media stops trying to serve “everybody”

Nushin Rashidian   Are platforms a bridge or a lifeline?

Kerri Hoffman   Opening closed systems

Heather Bryant   Some kinds of journalism aren’t worth saving

Joshua P. Darr   All that campaign cash will make the media’s problems worse

Carrie Brown-Smith   Engaged journalism: It’s finally happening

Matt DeRienzo   Local broadcasters begin to fill the gaps left by newspapers

Alfred Hermida and Mary Lynn Young   The promise of nonprofit journalism

Kristen Muller   The year we operationalize community engagement

Joe Amditis   Collaborative journalism takes its rightful place at the table

Tanya Cordrey   Saying no to more good ideas

Jakob Moll   A slow-moving tech backlash among young people

Victor Pickard   We reclaim a public good

Raney Aronson-Rath   News deserts will proliferate — but so will new solutions

Madelyn Sanfilippo and Yafit Lev-Aretz   News coverage gets geo-fragmented

Josh Schwartz   Publishers move beyond the metered paywall

Whitney Phillips   A time to question core beliefs

Sue Robinson   Campaign coverage as test bed for engagement experiments

Tamar Charney   From broadcast to bespoke

Cindy Royal   Prepare media students for skills, not job titles

Logan Jaffe   You don’t need fancy tools to listen

Don Day   Respect the non-paying audience

Fiona Spruill   The climate crisis gets the coverage it deserves

Doris Truong   The year of radical salary transparency

Jeremy Olshan   All journalism should be service journalism

Elizabeth Dunbar   Frank talk, and then action

Laura E. Davis   Know the context your journalism is operating within

Catalina Albeanu   Rebuilding journalism, together

An Xiao Mina   The Forum we wanted, the forum we got

A.J. Bauer   A fork in the road for conservative media

Alice Antheaume   Trade “politics” for “power”

Meg Marco   Everything happens somewhere

Seth C. Lewis   20 questions for 2020

Nicholas Jackson   What’s left of local gets comfortable with reader support

Sarah Stonbely   More people start caring about news inequality

Jim Brady   We’ll complain about other people living in bubbles while ignoring our own

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   The business we want, not the business we had

Carl Bialik   Journalists will try running the whole shop

Moreno Cruz Osório   In Brazil, collaboration in a time of state attacks

Dan Shanoff   Sports media enters the Bronny era

Jeff Kofman   Speed through technology

Heidi Tworek   The year of positive pushback

Sara K. Baranowski   A big year for little newspapers

Ståle Grut   OSINT journalism goes mainstream

Jonas Kaiser   Russian bots are just today’s slacktivists

Cory Haik   We’re already consuming the future of news — now we have to produce it

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting gets listener relationship management

Hossein Derakhshan   AI can’t conjure up an Errol Morris

Kevin D. Grant   The free press stands against authoritarians’ attacks on truth

Irving Washington   Leadership isn’t something you learn on the job

Pablo Boczkowski   The day after November 4

Simon Galperin   Journalism becomes more democratic

Nico Gendron   Make better products if you want to reach Gen Z

Imaeyen Ibanga   Let’s take it slow

Elizabeth Hansen and Jesse Holcomb   Local news initiatives run into a capital shortage

S. Mitra Kalita   The race to 2021

Gordon Crovitz   Fighting misinformation requires journalism, not secret algorithms

Peter Bale   Lies get further normalized

Knight Foundation   Five generations of journalists, learning from each other

John Garrett   It’s the best time in a century to start a local news organization

Errin Haines   Race and gender aren’t a 2020 story — they’re the story

Millie Tran   Wicked

Bill Adair   A Nobel Prize, a Brad Pitt film, and a Taylor Swift song

Annie Rudd   The expanded ambiguity of the news photograph

Lucas Graves   A smarter conversation about how (and why) fact-checking matters

Felix Salmon   Spotify launches a news channel

Mariana Moura Santos   The future of journalism is collaborative

John Keefe   Journalism gets hacked

Mario García   Think small (screen)

Helen Havlak   Platforms shine a light on original reporting

Meredith Artley   Stronger solidarity among news organizations

Ben Werdmuller   Use the tools of journalism to save it

Emily Withrow   The year we kill the news article

Jennifer Brandel   A love letter from the year 2073

Joanne McNeil   A return to blogs (finally? sort of?)

Sonali Prasad   Climate change storytelling gets multidimensional

Logan Molyneux and Shannon McGregor   Think twice before turning to Twitter

Sarah Marshall   The year to learn about news moments

Greg Emerson   News apps fall further behind

Rachel Davis Mersey   The business of local TV news will enter its downward slide

Lauren Duca   The rise of the journalistic influencer

Michael W. Wagner   Increasingly fractured, but little bit deliberative

Adam Thomas   The silver bullet

Barbara Gray   Join local libraries on the frontlines of civic engagement

Alexandra Borchardt   Get out of the office and talk to people

Francesco Zaffarano   TikTok without generational prejudice

Masuma Ahuja   Slower, quieter, more measured and thoughtful

Christa Scharfenberg   It’s time to make journalism a field that supports and respects women

Steve Henn   The dawning audio web

Rick Berke   Incoming fire from both left and right

Ernie Smith   The death of the industry fad

Mike Caulfield   Native verification tools for the blue checkmark crowd

Matthew Pressman   News consumers divide into haves and have-nots

Geneva Overholser   Death to bothsidesism

M. Scott Havens   First-party data becomes media’s most important currency

Rachel Schallom   The value of push alerts goes beyond open rates

Monique Judge   The year to organize, unionize, and fight

Jasmine McNealy   A call for context

Margarita Noriega   The platforms try to figure out what to do with single-subject newsrooms

Rachel Glickhouse   Journalists get left behind in the industry’s decline

Juleyka Lantigua   A changing industry amps up podcasters’ ambitions

Bill Grueskin   Our ethics codes get an overhaul