20200
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20100
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2050
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2040
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2020
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7

Let’s take it slow

“There are no voiceless people. There are only people whose voices the industry has chosen not to amplify.”

In 2020, the future of journalism is about being contextual and slowing down.

The industry has done (and honestly continues to do) a very poor job putting news within context. At a time when we’re exposed to more data at faster rates than before, the ability to turn it into understandable and actionable information is paramount. But many worry about the need for speed — eager to pump out data quickly, but slow to convert it into something useful. That conversion is what helps audiences. Look at the search fields in Google or YouTube and you’ll see that people are always asking questions.

We need to connect the dots, and that takes time.

And everyone actually has the time to take it slow. The internet is infinite; we’re competing not only with other news organizations, but also with all forms of content and entertainment. Look at some of the most popular examples in pop culture today, like “The Watchmen,” Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, or the movie Parasite: These are each in their own way slow-unfolding stories, and people have the patience to stick with them. Breaking-news culture has become all about shouting that the end is here; journalists have become addicted to it, fearing there won’t be another opportunity to tell the story. But the end isn’t nigh, and news media needs to embrace the slow burn to keep itself relevant.

The news industry has dedicated much of the past few years to navel-gazing, wondering why audiences no longer trust it. But it doesn’t understand that it never earned the confidence of many large sections of audiences it claims to court. Think people of color and women. The new year and the new decade offer a great opportunity to reset and occupy the space where we were always meant to be but have consistently failed to reach. And if we’re really serious about gaining trust, we have to listen to the people we’ve so often ignored and be unafraid of being challenged.

There are no voiceless people. There are only people whose voices the industry has chosen not to amplify. This happens often during presidential election seasons, when editors send reporters to the same states to hit up the same diners and interact with the same people. We have to let people know the journalists in their own communities — and that requires journalists to be active in those communities.

We cannot and will not get better as a business through gradual change. The industry needs a rapid transformation, and I believe putting news and reporting into greater context that acknowledges uncomfortable truths and history will help it succeed in this goal.

So rather than rushing to publish as soon as possible, and worrying about which platform will reach the most readers and viewers, we must ensure that our reporting educates our audiences with the information they need to make decisions and understand a complicated world. That’s impossible without context.

Imaeyen Ibanga is a senior producer and presenter with AJ+.

In 2020, the future of journalism is about being contextual and slowing down.

The industry has done (and honestly continues to do) a very poor job putting news within context. At a time when we’re exposed to more data at faster rates than before, the ability to turn it into understandable and actionable information is paramount. But many worry about the need for speed — eager to pump out data quickly, but slow to convert it into something useful. That conversion is what helps audiences. Look at the search fields in Google or YouTube and you’ll see that people are always asking questions.

We need to connect the dots, and that takes time.

And everyone actually has the time to take it slow. The internet is infinite; we’re competing not only with other news organizations, but also with all forms of content and entertainment. Look at some of the most popular examples in pop culture today, like “The Watchmen,” Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, or the movie Parasite: These are each in their own way slow-unfolding stories, and people have the patience to stick with them. Breaking-news culture has become all about shouting that the end is here; journalists have become addicted to it, fearing there won’t be another opportunity to tell the story. But the end isn’t nigh, and news media needs to embrace the slow burn to keep itself relevant.

The news industry has dedicated much of the past few years to navel-gazing, wondering why audiences no longer trust it. But it doesn’t understand that it never earned the confidence of many large sections of audiences it claims to court. Think people of color and women. The new year and the new decade offer a great opportunity to reset and occupy the space where we were always meant to be but have consistently failed to reach. And if we’re really serious about gaining trust, we have to listen to the people we’ve so often ignored and be unafraid of being challenged.

There are no voiceless people. There are only people whose voices the industry has chosen not to amplify. This happens often during presidential election seasons, when editors send reporters to the same states to hit up the same diners and interact with the same people. We have to let people know the journalists in their own communities — and that requires journalists to be active in those communities.

We cannot and will not get better as a business through gradual change. The industry needs a rapid transformation, and I believe putting news and reporting into greater context that acknowledges uncomfortable truths and history will help it succeed in this goal.

So rather than rushing to publish as soon as possible, and worrying about which platform will reach the most readers and viewers, we must ensure that our reporting educates our audiences with the information they need to make decisions and understand a complicated world. That’s impossible without context.

Imaeyen Ibanga is a senior producer and presenter with AJ+.

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