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

Treating MP3 files like text

“In this version of the future, I think the best editors won’t be the gatekeepers. They’ll be the champions. The advocates. And they’ll have an incredible tool in their tool belt: data.”

Why are tech platforms obsessed with audio all of a sudden? Radio’s been around forever.

Here’s some context: In the last few years, improvements in machine learning have powered automatic transcription that’s cheap, quick, and accurate. That makes it possible, with enough computing power, to treat MP3 files like text. Before machine learning, a podcast’s MP3 files were like black boxes in an RSS feed. Now it’s possible for computers to know what an MP3 file is talking about without the use of metatags. That’s huge.

If we can treat MP3 files like text, we can link between them. What might it be like to fall into an audio rabbit hole? What would it look like to have programming that expands and contracts depending on how much time a listener has or where they are in their day? With better personalization, what’s news to me might be slightly different than what’s news to you. You used to have one giant antenna for your entire audience. Now, as a broadcaster, you can have many antennas for many audiences.

In a future where you don’t just have one big audience, but many, having a diverse newsroom is more important than ever. Look around your newsrooms right now: What talent are you overlooking? Who could you start developing right now? I think you could futureproof your newsroom by hiring more people that look like your audience and training them today.

In the radio of the future, the role of editors might change. They’ll still be really important; editors are the ones who decide what’s news. But it used to be that one of their main functions was to choose which stories went into the circular file — the trash can. You only had so much air time. But with dynamic on-demand radio, they won’t have that problem. In this version of the future, I think the best editors won’t be the gatekeepers. They’ll be the champions. The advocates. And they’ll have an incredible tool in their tool belt: data.

With data, we can overcome our personal biases to make better informed editorial decisions. It’s no longer “I like this, I don’t like that.” A savvy editor could learn about their audience and what works for them. We can use data to tell better stories. With second-by-second analytics, we’ll make better choices about our craft. We could A/B test a lede, for example. We can question everything!

Brenda P. Salinas is an audio content strategist at Google.

Why are tech platforms obsessed with audio all of a sudden? Radio’s been around forever.

Here’s some context: In the last few years, improvements in machine learning have powered automatic transcription that’s cheap, quick, and accurate. That makes it possible, with enough computing power, to treat MP3 files like text. Before machine learning, a podcast’s MP3 files were like black boxes in an RSS feed. Now it’s possible for computers to know what an MP3 file is talking about without the use of metatags. That’s huge.

If we can treat MP3 files like text, we can link between them. What might it be like to fall into an audio rabbit hole? What would it look like to have programming that expands and contracts depending on how much time a listener has or where they are in their day? With better personalization, what’s news to me might be slightly different than what’s news to you. You used to have one giant antenna for your entire audience. Now, as a broadcaster, you can have many antennas for many audiences.

In a future where you don’t just have one big audience, but many, having a diverse newsroom is more important than ever. Look around your newsrooms right now: What talent are you overlooking? Who could you start developing right now? I think you could futureproof your newsroom by hiring more people that look like your audience and training them today.

In the radio of the future, the role of editors might change. They’ll still be really important; editors are the ones who decide what’s news. But it used to be that one of their main functions was to choose which stories went into the circular file — the trash can. You only had so much air time. But with dynamic on-demand radio, they won’t have that problem. In this version of the future, I think the best editors won’t be the gatekeepers. They’ll be the champions. The advocates. And they’ll have an incredible tool in their tool belt: data.

With data, we can overcome our personal biases to make better informed editorial decisions. It’s no longer “I like this, I don’t like that.” A savvy editor could learn about their audience and what works for them. We can use data to tell better stories. With second-by-second analytics, we’ll make better choices about our craft. We could A/B test a lede, for example. We can question everything!

Brenda P. Salinas is an audio content strategist at Google.

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

Seth C. Lewis   20 questions for 2020

Logan Jaffe   You don’t need fancy tools to listen

Bill Grueskin   Our ethics codes get an overhaul

Jonas Kaiser   Russian bots are just today’s slacktivists

Rick Berke   Incoming fire from both left and right

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

Stefanie Murray   Charitable giving goes collaborative

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

Ernie Smith   The death of the industry fad

Heidi Tworek   The year of positive pushback

Nushin Rashidian   Are platforms a bridge or a lifeline?

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

Jeremy Olshan   All journalism should be service journalism

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

Joe Amditis   Collaborative journalism takes its rightful place at the table

Hossein Derakhshan   AI can’t conjure up an Errol Morris

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

Elizabeth Dunbar   Frank talk, and then action

Masuma Ahuja   Slower, quieter, more measured and thoughtful

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

Lauren Duca   The rise of the journalistic influencer

Matthew Pressman   News consumers divide into haves and have-nots

Tanya Cordrey   Saying no to more good ideas

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

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

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

Victor Pickard   We reclaim a public good

Jeff Kofman   Speed through technology

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

Simon Galperin   Journalism becomes more democratic

Imaeyen Ibanga   Let’s take it slow

Craig Newmark   Formalizing newsrooms’ battle against disinformation

Pablo Boczkowski   The day after November 4

Sara K. Baranowski   A big year for little newspapers

Francesco Zaffarano   TikTok without generational prejudice

Jakob Moll   A slow-moving tech backlash among young people

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

Sue Robinson   Campaign coverage as test bed for engagement experiments

Jasmine McNealy   A call for context

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

Nikki Usher   All systems down

Brian Moritz   The end of “stick to sports”

Heather Bryant   Some kinds of journalism aren’t worth saving

Marie Gilot   This is fine

Geneva Overholser   Death to bothsidesism

Carl Bialik   Journalists will try running the whole shop

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting gets listener relationship management

Barbara Gray   Join local libraries on the frontlines of civic engagement

Tamar Charney   From broadcast to bespoke

Catalina Albeanu   Rebuilding journalism, together

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

Brenda P. Salinas   Treating MP3 files like text

Talia Stroud   The work of reconnecting starts November 4

Helen Havlak   Platforms shine a light on original reporting

Adam Thomas   The silver bullet

Emily Withrow   The year we kill the news article

Mike Caulfield   Native verification tools for the blue checkmark crowd

Peter Bale   Lies get further normalized

Cindy Royal   Prepare media students for skills, not job titles

Jennifer Brandel   A love letter from the year 2073

Josh Schwartz   Publishers move beyond the metered paywall

Beena Raghavendran   The year of the local engagement reporter

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

Julia B. Chan   We 👏 take 👏 breaks 👏

Anthony Nadler   Clash of Clans: Election Edition

Michael W. Wagner   Increasingly fractured, but little bit deliberative

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

Doris Truong   The year of radical salary transparency

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

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

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

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

Nathalie Malinarich   Betting on loyalty

Steve Henn   The dawning audio web

Sarah Marshall   The year to learn about news moments

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

Kristen Muller   The year we operationalize community engagement

Cristina Kim   Public media stops trying to serve “everybody”

Sarah Schmalbach   Journalist, quantify thyself

Ståle Grut   OSINT journalism goes mainstream

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

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

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

Greg Emerson   News apps fall further behind

Logan Molyneux and Shannon McGregor   Think twice before turning to Twitter

Knight Foundation   Five generations of journalists, learning from each other

Fiona Spruill   The climate crisis gets the coverage it deserves

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

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

John Keefe   Journalism gets hacked

S. Mitra Kalita   The race to 2021

Millie Tran   Wicked

Alice Antheaume   Trade “politics” for “power”

Dan Shanoff   Sports media enters the Bronny era

Ben Werdmuller   Use the tools of journalism to save it

Sonali Prasad   Climate change storytelling gets multidimensional

Mariana Moura Santos   The future of journalism is collaborative

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

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

james Wahutu   Western journalists, learn from your African peers

Alexandra Borchardt   Get out of the office and talk to people

Meredith Artley   Stronger solidarity among news organizations

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

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

Alfred Hermida and Mary Lynn Young   The promise of nonprofit journalism

Sarah Stonbely   More people start caring about news inequality

Kerri Hoffman   Opening closed systems

Mira Lowe   The year of student-powered journalism

Kathleen Searles   Pay more attention to attention

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

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

Rachel Schallom   The value of push alerts goes beyond open rates

Meg Marco   Everything happens somewhere

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

Tom Glaisyer   Journalism can emerge newly vibrant and powerful

Joni Deutsch   Podcasting unsilences the silent

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

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting finally creates another mega-hit show

Don Day   Respect the non-paying audience

Candis Callison   Taking a cue from Indigenous journalists on climate change

Tonya Mosley   The neutrality vs. objectivity game ends

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

Colleen Shalby   Journalists become media literacy teachers

Annie Rudd   The expanded ambiguity of the news photograph

Sarah Alvarez   I’m ready for post-news

Felix Salmon   Spotify launches a news channel

Alana Levinson   Brand-backed media gets another look

Monica Drake   A renewed focus on misinformation

Mario García   Think small (screen)

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

Monique Judge   The year to organize, unionize, and fight

Whitney Phillips   A time to question core beliefs