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20100
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2040
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7

The race to 2021

“As we talk about converting users into subscribers, we need to embrace a similar (and possibly uncomfortable) conversion from news into information of value or need.”

I’m fixated on the morning after Election Day. And I think more newsrooms should be, too.

In 2020, a lot of journalists will do a lot of journalism about polls and candidates, debates, and conventions. My hope (and my commitment) is to go deeper into the lives of Americans on the issues they care about: schools, climate, racism, aging, the price of medicine, how to stay married, how to retire earlier, how to live longer…

My prediction: In 2020, audiences will force media to diversify content and make it more useful and accessible — a natural outgrowth of the waning “Trump Bump.” Regardless of who wins, the issues that brought us to such deep division will remain. We must prepare for this now.

Journalism has long had the power to serve as the glue of a community. We ceded ground, though, to platforms and their tendency to favor partisan takes and content. To be sure, the formats of traditional journalism don’t help, with a focus on “two sides” of a story versus embracing and explaining nuance.

How journalists can start setting us up for 2021:

  • Stop seeing social media as the story. I love social (follow me on Twitter!), but its users remain concentrated among a small group of people who are either “very conservative” or “very liberal.”Moderates simply do not wade in — even though most of the country defines themselves this way. This reticence to engage could be an opportunity if we capture nuance and the complicated nature of stories. Remember, America does not live on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Rethink career trajectories to match audience needs. You cover school boards and city council in your 20s and aspire to cover the president and Congress in your 30s. As a reader, you care more about the president and Congress in your 20s and really start to pay attention in your 30s to schools, civic life, real estate, and whether the garbage was picked up.
  • Let’s make news useful, accessible, and contextual. As we talk about converting users into subscribers, we need to embrace a similar (and possibly uncomfortable) conversion from news into information of value or need. Do you assign a review of the concert or just a listicle on the songs played? Do you need an article on Netflix’s newest series or a forum to discuss it after binge-watching?
  • Diversity efforts in media need an overhaul. Many of us are working to diversify mainstream media — but it won’t happen unless we’re open to rethinking our methods and storytelling. We’ve got to get off Twitter, go to the scene, and listen for more than a good quote. I’m predicting and pushing for some back-to-basics reporting and editing that intentionally shifts perspective and turns our platforms over to new sources. Only once we master formulas can we break them.

Mitra Kalita is CNN Digital’s senior vice president of news, opinion, and programming.

I’m fixated on the morning after Election Day. And I think more newsrooms should be, too.

In 2020, a lot of journalists will do a lot of journalism about polls and candidates, debates, and conventions. My hope (and my commitment) is to go deeper into the lives of Americans on the issues they care about: schools, climate, racism, aging, the price of medicine, how to stay married, how to retire earlier, how to live longer…

My prediction: In 2020, audiences will force media to diversify content and make it more useful and accessible — a natural outgrowth of the waning “Trump Bump.” Regardless of who wins, the issues that brought us to such deep division will remain. We must prepare for this now.

Journalism has long had the power to serve as the glue of a community. We ceded ground, though, to platforms and their tendency to favor partisan takes and content. To be sure, the formats of traditional journalism don’t help, with a focus on “two sides” of a story versus embracing and explaining nuance.

How journalists can start setting us up for 2021:

  • Stop seeing social media as the story. I love social (follow me on Twitter!), but its users remain concentrated among a small group of people who are either “very conservative” or “very liberal.”Moderates simply do not wade in — even though most of the country defines themselves this way. This reticence to engage could be an opportunity if we capture nuance and the complicated nature of stories. Remember, America does not live on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Rethink career trajectories to match audience needs. You cover school boards and city council in your 20s and aspire to cover the president and Congress in your 30s. As a reader, you care more about the president and Congress in your 20s and really start to pay attention in your 30s to schools, civic life, real estate, and whether the garbage was picked up.
  • Let’s make news useful, accessible, and contextual. As we talk about converting users into subscribers, we need to embrace a similar (and possibly uncomfortable) conversion from news into information of value or need. Do you assign a review of the concert or just a listicle on the songs played? Do you need an article on Netflix’s newest series or a forum to discuss it after binge-watching?
  • Diversity efforts in media need an overhaul. Many of us are working to diversify mainstream media — but it won’t happen unless we’re open to rethinking our methods and storytelling. We’ve got to get off Twitter, go to the scene, and listen for more than a good quote. I’m predicting and pushing for some back-to-basics reporting and editing that intentionally shifts perspective and turns our platforms over to new sources. Only once we master formulas can we break them.

Mitra Kalita is CNN Digital’s senior vice president of news, opinion, and programming.

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Mike Caulfield   Native verification tools for the blue checkmark crowd

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Victor Pickard   We reclaim a public good

Francesco Zaffarano   TikTok without generational prejudice

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

Tamar Charney   From broadcast to bespoke

Jasmine McNealy   A call for context

Nathalie Malinarich   Betting on loyalty

Heidi Tworek   The year of positive pushback

Logan Molyneux and Shannon McGregor   Think twice before turning to Twitter

Ben Werdmuller   Use the tools of journalism to save it

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Marie Gilot   This is fine

Mariana Moura Santos   The future of journalism is collaborative

Mario García   Think small (screen)

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

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

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Monica Drake   A renewed focus on misinformation

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Whitney Phillips   A time to question core beliefs

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

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Kathleen Searles   Pay more attention to attention

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

Heather Bryant   Some kinds of journalism aren’t worth saving

Millie Tran   Wicked

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Anthony Nadler   Clash of Clans: Election Edition

Fiona Spruill   The climate crisis gets the coverage it deserves

Colleen Shalby   Journalists become media literacy teachers

Masuma Ahuja   Slower, quieter, more measured and thoughtful

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Knight Foundation   Five generations of journalists, learning from each other

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Adam Thomas   The silver bullet

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Simon Galperin   Journalism becomes more democratic

Jeremy Olshan   All journalism should be service journalism

Josh Schwartz   Publishers move beyond the metered paywall

Jonas Kaiser   Russian bots are just today’s slacktivists

Beena Raghavendran   The year of the local engagement reporter

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

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

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

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

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Alana Levinson   Brand-backed media gets another look

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Jeff Kofman   Speed through technology

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Seth C. Lewis   20 questions for 2020

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Craig Newmark   Formalizing newsrooms’ battle against disinformation

Jakob Moll   A slow-moving tech backlash among young people

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

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Bill Grueskin   Our ethics codes get an overhaul

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