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

All that campaign cash will make the media’s problems worse

“This massive infusion of political cash into the media will benefit tech companies and cable news networks more than in previous cycles — reinforcing trends in the media industry that are hurting politics in America today and causing more damage than any negative ad.”

The 2020 presidential election will be the most expensive election ever, and most of the money will be used on political advertising. Industry experts predicted in September that $10 billion would be spent, a 60 percent increase in ad spending from 2016 — and that was before Michael Bloomberg’s entry into the Democratic primary and the record-breaking $57 million he spent in just his first week as a candidate.

Will all that ad spending matter? Yes and no: These advertisements will have effects, but not on voters. The majority of evidence in political science finds that political ads have limited effects that are short-lived. Individual ads may persuade temporarily by informing voters or triggering an emotional response, but the effects are small in the real world and cancel each other out when ads are aired in equal volume.

This massive infusion of political cash into the media will benefit tech companies and cable news networks more than in previous cycles — reinforcing trends in the media industry that are hurting politics in America today and causing more damage than any negative ad.

The major tech companies are receiving more and more campaign cash. For example, including search ads (and despite their “new rules”), Bloomberg bought $4.6 million in advertising from Google in his first week — more than the entire Democratic field combined had to that point.

Federal regulations disadvantage local news stations in today’s environment. The FCC regulates rates of television ads and demands that stations disclose those rates, but no such regulations exist for online advertising. Traditionally, campaigns have focused their limited resources on ads on local broadcast channels in targeted markets in swing states, but local television ownership is consolidating and these ads will benefit ownership groups as well as individual stations. Local newspapers also receive none of this money for print ads (though there is quite a bit of digital advertising on local newspaper websites, at much lower rates).

The shifting of spending to national cable and online platforms will hasten current trends in the media environment, such as the nationalization of political decision-making. Politics, and political news, are gradually becoming a referendum on the president and what’s going on in Washington, as local news struggles to adapt to the changing economics of news and preferences of consumers.

The unbelievable spending we’re already witnessing will make cable news, tech companies, and owners of television stations richer, while benefiting local news less than ever.

Joshua P. Darr is an assistant professor of political communication at Louisiana State University.

The 2020 presidential election will be the most expensive election ever, and most of the money will be used on political advertising. Industry experts predicted in September that $10 billion would be spent, a 60 percent increase in ad spending from 2016 — and that was before Michael Bloomberg’s entry into the Democratic primary and the record-breaking $57 million he spent in just his first week as a candidate.

Will all that ad spending matter? Yes and no: These advertisements will have effects, but not on voters. The majority of evidence in political science finds that political ads have limited effects that are short-lived. Individual ads may persuade temporarily by informing voters or triggering an emotional response, but the effects are small in the real world and cancel each other out when ads are aired in equal volume.

This massive infusion of political cash into the media will benefit tech companies and cable news networks more than in previous cycles — reinforcing trends in the media industry that are hurting politics in America today and causing more damage than any negative ad.

The major tech companies are receiving more and more campaign cash. For example, including search ads (and despite their “new rules”), Bloomberg bought $4.6 million in advertising from Google in his first week — more than the entire Democratic field combined had to that point.

Federal regulations disadvantage local news stations in today’s environment. The FCC regulates rates of television ads and demands that stations disclose those rates, but no such regulations exist for online advertising. Traditionally, campaigns have focused their limited resources on ads on local broadcast channels in targeted markets in swing states, but local television ownership is consolidating and these ads will benefit ownership groups as well as individual stations. Local newspapers also receive none of this money for print ads (though there is quite a bit of digital advertising on local newspaper websites, at much lower rates).

The shifting of spending to national cable and online platforms will hasten current trends in the media environment, such as the nationalization of political decision-making. Politics, and political news, are gradually becoming a referendum on the president and what’s going on in Washington, as local news struggles to adapt to the changing economics of news and preferences of consumers.

The unbelievable spending we’re already witnessing will make cable news, tech companies, and owners of television stations richer, while benefiting local news less than ever.

Joshua P. Darr is an assistant professor of political communication at Louisiana State University.

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

Catalina Albeanu   Rebuilding journalism, together

Stefanie Murray   Charitable giving goes collaborative

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

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

Rick Berke   Incoming fire from both left and right

Colleen Shalby   Journalists become media literacy teachers

Knight Foundation   Five generations of journalists, learning from each other

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   A changing industry amps up podcasters’ ambitions

Lauren Duca   The rise of the journalistic influencer

Mariana Moura Santos   The future of journalism is collaborative

Don Day   Respect the non-paying audience

Ståle Grut   OSINT journalism goes mainstream

Alexandra Borchardt   Get out of the office and talk to people

Alfred Hermida and Mary Lynn Young   The promise of nonprofit journalism

Monica Drake   A renewed focus on misinformation

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

Sue Robinson   Campaign coverage as test bed for engagement experiments

Pablo Boczkowski   The day after November 4

Nushin Rashidian   Are platforms a bridge or a lifeline?

Annie Rudd   The expanded ambiguity of the news photograph

Cristina Kim   Public media stops trying to serve “everybody”

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

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

Tamar Charney   From broadcast to bespoke

Mario García   Think small (screen)

Seth C. Lewis   20 questions for 2020

Carl Bialik   Journalists will try running the whole shop

Helen Havlak   Platforms shine a light on original reporting

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

Heidi Tworek   The year of positive pushback

Peter Bale   Lies get further normalized

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

Ben Werdmuller   Use the tools of journalism to save it

Francesco Zaffarano   TikTok without generational prejudice

Nathalie Malinarich   Betting on loyalty

Millie Tran   Wicked

Dan Shanoff   Sports media enters the Bronny era

Whitney Phillips   A time to question core beliefs

Mira Lowe   The year of student-powered journalism

Doris Truong   The year of radical salary transparency

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting gets listener relationship management

Nikki Usher   All systems down

Jennifer Brandel   A love letter from the year 2073

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

Emily Withrow   The year we kill the news article

Meredith Artley   Stronger solidarity among news organizations

Tonya Mosley   The neutrality vs. objectivity game ends

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

Geneva Overholser   Death to bothsidesism

Elizabeth Dunbar   Frank talk, and then action

Ernie Smith   The death of the industry fad

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

Jeremy Olshan   All journalism should be service journalism

Alice Antheaume   Trade “politics” for “power”

Meg Marco   Everything happens somewhere

Sarah Stonbely   More people start caring about news inequality

John Keefe   Journalism gets hacked

Monique Judge   The year to organize, unionize, and fight

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

Richard J. Tofel   A constraint of the reader-revenue model emerges

Jonas Kaiser   Russian bots are just today’s slacktivists

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

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

Mike Caulfield   Native verification tools for the blue checkmark crowd

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

Barbara Gray   Join local libraries on the frontlines of civic engagement

Sonali Prasad   Climate change storytelling gets multidimensional

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

Jakob Moll   A slow-moving tech backlash among young people

Logan Molyneux and Shannon McGregor   Think twice before turning to Twitter

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

Sarah Alvarez   I’m ready for post-news

Kathleen Searles   Pay more attention to attention

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

Brenda P. Salinas   Treating MP3 files like text

Michael W. Wagner   Increasingly fractured, but little bit deliberative

Anthony Nadler   Clash of Clans: Election Edition

L. Gordon Crovitz   Fighting misinformation requires journalism, not secret algorithms

Tanya Cordrey   Saying no to more good ideas

Candis Callison   Taking a cue from Indigenous journalists on climate change

Joe Amditis   Collaborative journalism takes its rightful place at the table

Simon Galperin   Journalism becomes more democratic

Felix Salmon   Spotify launches a news channel

Julia B. Chan   We 👏 take 👏 breaks 👏

Alana Levinson   Brand-backed media gets another look

Kristen Muller   The year we operationalize community engagement

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

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

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

james Wahutu   Western journalists, learn from your African peers

Bill Grueskin   Our ethics codes get an overhaul

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

Masuma Ahuja   Slower, quieter, more measured and thoughtful

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting finally creates another mega-hit show

Logan Jaffe   You don’t need fancy tools to listen

Sara K. Baranowski   A big year for little newspapers

Sarah Marshall   The year to learn about news moments

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

Heather Bryant   Some kinds of journalism aren’t worth saving

Joni Deutsch   Podcasting unsilences the silent

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

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

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

Tom Glaisyer   Journalism can emerge newly vibrant and powerful

Marie Gilot   This is fine

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

Steve Henn   The dawning audio web

Talia Stroud   The work of reconnecting starts November 4

Jeff Kofman   Speed through technology

Fiona Spruill   The climate crisis gets the coverage it deserves

Craig Newmark   Formalizing newsrooms’ battle against disinformation

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

Beena Raghavendran   The year of the local engagement reporter

Jasmine McNealy   A call for context

Josh Schwartz   Publishers move beyond the metered paywall

Kerri Hoffman   Opening closed systems

Imaeyen Ibanga   Let’s take it slow

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

Brian Moritz   The end of “stick to sports”

Rachel Schallom   The value of push alerts goes beyond open rates

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

Sarah Schmalbach   Journalist, quantify thyself

Matthew Pressman   News consumers divide into haves and have-nots

Greg Emerson   News apps fall further behind

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

Hossein Derakhshan   AI can’t conjure up an Errol Morris

S. Mitra Kalita   The race to 2021

Cindy Royal   Prepare media students for skills, not job titles

Victor Pickard   We reclaim a public good

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

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

Adam Thomas   The silver bullet