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

Increasingly fractured, but little bit deliberative

“People who seek news from across lines of difference and talk politics with people across lines of difference have less polarized attitudes about political leaders and groups, even when accounting for their county’s economic resilience, population change, and health outcomes.”

Ideally, journalism clearly and transparently reports the verifiable truth to an audience that trusts the information they consume in such a way that they use it to meaningfully deliberate about the choices they face.

In 2020, I expect journalists to continue to struggle with how to handle issues of truth — when they know the truth, and when they don’t — and citizens to continue to struggle deciding who they can trust across all levels of the information ecology in which they live. These struggles are likely to occur in an increasingly fractured and contentious political environment.

That said, there’s reason to believe, as Talia Stroud noted last year, that journalists’ ability to shed light across lines of difference can continue to play a role in how some citizens deliberate about their political choices.

Living in a contentious political era will continue to seep into people’s everyday lives in ways that it usually doesn’t, fracturing friendships along the way. In 2018, our survey of Wisconsinites found that about half said they’d stopped talking politics with someone over political disagreements, while 20 percent of people literally ended friendships or family relationships due to political disagreements. This is likely to get worse in what will be a very contentious election year.

On the journalism side, I expect journalists to continue highlighting extreme voices, which leads to misperceptions about the nature and extremity of our political divides. I also suspect mainstream outlets will continue to diverge on questions of who to interview, how to recognize what is real (especially on social media), and when to call a lie a lie.

Despite some evidence that many politically minded people live in partisan echo chambers that encourage increased political fracture, there’s strong evidence that encountering information across lines of difference (a) happens and (b) is consequential. In our investigation of how people’s information diet relates to their vote choices, we found that split-ticket votes were mostly likely to be cast by precisely those folks who spend some time with news media that reports from a different ideological perspective than their own. In forthcoming work in the International Journal of Public Opinion Research, we show that people who seek news from across lines of difference and talk politics with people across lines of difference have less polarized attitudes about political leaders and groups, even when accounting for their county’s economic resilience, population change, and health outcomes.

Though 2020 will surely exacerbate old challenges while raising new ones, I’m hopeful that the journalism that clearly and transparently reports the verifiable truth will be helpful to citizens seeking to make sense of their world.

Michael W. Wagner is a professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of Wisconsin.

Ideally, journalism clearly and transparently reports the verifiable truth to an audience that trusts the information they consume in such a way that they use it to meaningfully deliberate about the choices they face.

In 2020, I expect journalists to continue to struggle with how to handle issues of truth — when they know the truth, and when they don’t — and citizens to continue to struggle deciding who they can trust across all levels of the information ecology in which they live. These struggles are likely to occur in an increasingly fractured and contentious political environment.

That said, there’s reason to believe, as Talia Stroud noted last year, that journalists’ ability to shed light across lines of difference can continue to play a role in how some citizens deliberate about their political choices.

Living in a contentious political era will continue to seep into people’s everyday lives in ways that it usually doesn’t, fracturing friendships along the way. In 2018, our survey of Wisconsinites found that about half said they’d stopped talking politics with someone over political disagreements, while 20 percent of people literally ended friendships or family relationships due to political disagreements. This is likely to get worse in what will be a very contentious election year.

On the journalism side, I expect journalists to continue highlighting extreme voices, which leads to misperceptions about the nature and extremity of our political divides. I also suspect mainstream outlets will continue to diverge on questions of who to interview, how to recognize what is real (especially on social media), and when to call a lie a lie.

Despite some evidence that many politically minded people live in partisan echo chambers that encourage increased political fracture, there’s strong evidence that encountering information across lines of difference (a) happens and (b) is consequential. In our investigation of how people’s information diet relates to their vote choices, we found that split-ticket votes were mostly likely to be cast by precisely those folks who spend some time with news media that reports from a different ideological perspective than their own. In forthcoming work in the International Journal of Public Opinion Research, we show that people who seek news from across lines of difference and talk politics with people across lines of difference have less polarized attitudes about political leaders and groups, even when accounting for their county’s economic resilience, population change, and health outcomes.

Though 2020 will surely exacerbate old challenges while raising new ones, I’m hopeful that the journalism that clearly and transparently reports the verifiable truth will be helpful to citizens seeking to make sense of their world.

Michael W. Wagner is a professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of Wisconsin.

Sara K. Baranowski   A big year for little newspapers

Imaeyen Ibanga   Let’s take it slow

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

Doris Truong   The year of radical salary transparency

Brian Moritz   The end of “stick to sports”

Heather Bryant   Some kinds of journalism aren’t worth saving

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

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting finally creates another mega-hit show

Meg Marco   Everything happens somewhere

Catalina Albeanu   Rebuilding journalism, together

Michael W. Wagner   Increasingly fractured, but little bit deliberative

Talia Stroud   The work of reconnecting starts November 4

Nikki Usher   All systems down

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

Joe Amditis   Collaborative journalism takes its rightful place at the table

Kathleen Searles   Pay more attention to attention

Felix Salmon   Spotify launches a news channel

Stefanie Murray   Charitable giving goes collaborative

Tom Glaisyer   Journalism can emerge newly vibrant and powerful

Alfred Hermida and Mary Lynn Young   The promise of nonprofit journalism

Nushin Rashidian   Are platforms a bridge or a lifeline?

Matthew Pressman   News consumers divide into haves and have-nots

Mariana Moura Santos   The future of journalism is collaborative

Alana Levinson   Brand-backed media gets another look

Greg Emerson   News apps fall further behind

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

Bill Grueskin   Our ethics codes get an overhaul

Sonali Prasad   Climate change storytelling gets multidimensional

Meredith Artley   Stronger solidarity among news organizations

Logan Molyneux and Shannon McGregor   Think twice before turning to Twitter

Colleen Shalby   Journalists become media literacy teachers

Candis Callison   Taking a cue from Indigenous journalists on climate change

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

Victor Pickard   We reclaim a public good

Annie Rudd   The expanded ambiguity of the news photograph

Geneva Overholser   Death to bothsidesism

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

Marie Gilot   This is fine

Emily Withrow   The year we kill the news article

Sue Robinson   Campaign coverage as test bed for engagement experiments

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

Jeff Kofman   Speed through technology

Simon Galperin   Journalism becomes more democratic

Tanya Cordrey   Saying no to more good ideas

Craig Newmark   Formalizing newsrooms’ battle against disinformation

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting gets listener relationship management

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

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

Joni Deutsch   Podcasting unsilences the silent

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

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

Sarah Alvarez   I’m ready for post-news

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

Alexandra Borchardt   Get out of the office and talk to people

Ben Werdmuller   Use the tools of journalism to save it

Masuma Ahuja   Slower, quieter, more measured and thoughtful

Mira Lowe   The year of student-powered journalism

Jonas Kaiser   Russian bots are just today’s slacktivists

Brenda P. Salinas   Treating MP3 files like text

Logan Jaffe   You don’t need fancy tools to listen

Carl Bialik   Journalists will try running the whole shop

Kristen Muller   The year we operationalize community engagement

Hossein Derakhshan   AI can’t conjure up an Errol Morris

S. Mitra Kalita   The race to 2021

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

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

Tamar Charney   From broadcast to bespoke

Mario García   Think small (screen)

Rick Berke   Incoming fire from both left and right

Beena Raghavendran   The year of the local engagement reporter

Barbara Gray   Join local libraries on the frontlines of civic engagement

Rachel Schallom   The value of push alerts goes beyond open rates

Cristina Kim   Public media stops trying to serve “everybody”

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

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

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

Helen Havlak   Platforms shine a light on original reporting

Sarah Stonbely   More people start caring about news inequality

james Wahutu   Western journalists, learn from your African peers

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

Peter Bale   Lies get further normalized

Dan Shanoff   Sports media enters the Bronny era

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

Sarah Schmalbach   Journalist, quantify thyself

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

Julia B. Chan   We 👏 take 👏 breaks 👏

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

Anthony Nadler   Clash of Clans: Election Edition

Ståle Grut   OSINT journalism goes mainstream

Mike Caulfield   Native verification tools for the blue checkmark crowd

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

Sarah Marshall   The year to learn about news moments

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

Elizabeth Dunbar   Frank talk, and then action

Lauren Duca   The rise of the journalistic influencer

Seth C. Lewis   20 questions for 2020

Jakob Moll   A slow-moving tech backlash among young people

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

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

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

Pablo Boczkowski   The day after November 4

Monica Drake   A renewed focus on misinformation

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

Whitney Phillips   A time to question core beliefs

Josh Schwartz   Publishers move beyond the metered paywall

Adam Thomas   The silver bullet

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

Francesco Zaffarano   TikTok without generational prejudice

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

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

Heidi Tworek   The year of positive pushback

Monique Judge   The year to organize, unionize, and fight

Steve Henn   The dawning audio web

Fiona Spruill   The climate crisis gets the coverage it deserves

Nathalie Malinarich   Betting on loyalty

Jennifer Brandel   A love letter from the year 2073

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

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

Alice Antheaume   Trade “politics” for “power”

Kerri Hoffman   Opening closed systems

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

Don Day   Respect the non-paying audience

John Keefe   Journalism gets hacked

Cindy Royal   Prepare media students for skills, not job titles

Knight Foundation   Five generations of journalists, learning from each other

Tonya Mosley   The neutrality vs. objectivity game ends

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

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

Jasmine McNealy   A call for context

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

Millie Tran   Wicked

Jeremy Olshan   All journalism should be service journalism

Ernie Smith   The death of the industry fad