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.

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Julia B. Chan   We 👏 take 👏 breaks 👏

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

Kathleen Searles   Pay more attention to attention

Knight Foundation   Five generations of journalists, learning from each other

Josh Schwartz   Publishers move beyond the metered paywall

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

Brenda P. Salinas   Treating MP3 files like text

Logan Jaffe   You don’t need fancy tools to listen

Tonya Mosley   The neutrality vs. objectivity game ends

Jeremy Olshan   All journalism should be service journalism

Sarah Schmalbach   Journalist, quantify thyself

Michael W. Wagner   Increasingly fractured, but little bit deliberative

Mario García   Think small (screen)

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

Craig Newmark   Formalizing newsrooms’ battle against disinformation

Rick Berke   Incoming fire from both left and right

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

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

Sonali Prasad   Climate change storytelling gets multidimensional

Talia Stroud   The work of reconnecting starts November 4

Jonas Kaiser   Russian bots are just today’s slacktivists

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

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

Monica Drake   A renewed focus on misinformation

Joe Amditis   Collaborative journalism takes its rightful place at the table

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

Brian Moritz   The end of “stick to sports”

Pablo Boczkowski   The day after November 4

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Francesco Zaffarano   TikTok without generational prejudice

Catalina Albeanu   Rebuilding journalism, together

Sarah Stonbely   More people start caring about news inequality

Sarah Marshall   The year to learn about news moments

Steve Henn   The dawning audio web

Mike Caulfield   Native verification tools for the blue checkmark crowd

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Simon Galperin   Journalism becomes more democratic

Meredith Artley   Stronger solidarity among news organizations

Dan Shanoff   Sports media enters the Bronny era

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

Greg Emerson   News apps fall further behind

Mira Lowe   The year of student-powered journalism

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

Don Day   Respect the non-paying audience

Cindy Royal   Prepare media students for skills, not job titles

Kerri Hoffman   Opening closed systems

Alexandra Borchardt   Get out of the office and talk to people

Jasmine McNealy   A call for context

Whitney Phillips   A time to question core beliefs

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

Carl Bialik   Journalists will try running the whole shop

Alice Antheaume   Trade “politics” for “power”

Cristina Kim   Public media stops trying to serve “everybody”

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

Sara K. Baranowski   A big year for little newspapers

Monique Judge   The year to organize, unionize, and fight

Emily Withrow   The year we kill the news article

Tom Glaisyer   Journalism can emerge newly vibrant and powerful

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Jennifer Brandel   A love letter from the year 2073

Sarah Alvarez   I’m ready for post-news

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

Seth C. Lewis   20 questions for 2020

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Victor Pickard   We reclaim a public good

Rachel Schallom   The value of push alerts goes beyond open rates

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

Jeff Kofman   Speed through technology

Tamar Charney   From broadcast to bespoke

Barbara Gray   Join local libraries on the frontlines of civic engagement

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S. Mitra Kalita   The race to 2021

Alfred Hermida and Mary Lynn Young   The promise of nonprofit journalism

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

John Keefe   Journalism gets hacked

Millie Tran   Wicked

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

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

Geneva Overholser   Death to bothsidesism

Mariana Moura Santos   The future of journalism is collaborative

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

Anthony Nadler   Clash of Clans: Election Edition

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

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

Kristen Muller   The year we operationalize community engagement

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

Ernie Smith   The death of the industry fad

Marie Gilot   This is fine

Colleen Shalby   Journalists become media literacy teachers

Tanya Cordrey   Saying no to more good ideas

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

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Nikki Usher   All systems down

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Adam Thomas   The silver bullet

Peter Bale   Lies get further normalized

Doris Truong   The year of radical salary transparency

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

Heather Bryant   Some kinds of journalism aren’t worth saving

Matthew Pressman   News consumers divide into haves and have-nots

Annie Rudd   The expanded ambiguity of the news photograph

Nathalie Malinarich   Betting on loyalty

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

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Logan Molyneux and Shannon McGregor   Think twice before turning to Twitter

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