From understanding to feeling

“After a year in quarantine, audiences will shift from ‘help me understand what’s happening’ to ‘help me find an outlet.'”

In 2021, readers will want to feel more than understand. We’re all exhausted and depleted — mentally, physically, and emotionally. We’ve been locked up with little social interaction and little space to release our energy.

After a year in quarantine, audiences will shift from “help me understand what’s happening” to “help me find an outlet.” With this pivot, I expect — and look forward to — an explosion of creativity by musicians, actors, comedians, and so on.

We’ll undoubtedly see increased arts and culture coverage. Smart newsrooms will pair that coverage with unique design and new formats so that the journalism becomes an artistic experience in and of itself.

The newsrooms that will most successfully tap into this fundamental change will experiment with formats that allow their audiences to escape social isolation and help audiences absolve the limitations of locked-in spaces. 2021 is when audiences (en masse) will be ready for innovations in technology and space and new ways to interact with their world. 2021 is the right time for newsrooms to experiment with AR, VR, and other types of dynamic storytelling that allow viewers to escape beyond a 2-D screen. Some newsrooms might even create formats that teach us how to integrate into a world that is fundamentally different than it was two years ago.

Zainab Khan is audience strategy editor for video at The New York Times.

In 2021, readers will want to feel more than understand. We’re all exhausted and depleted — mentally, physically, and emotionally. We’ve been locked up with little social interaction and little space to release our energy.

After a year in quarantine, audiences will shift from “help me understand what’s happening” to “help me find an outlet.” With this pivot, I expect — and look forward to — an explosion of creativity by musicians, actors, comedians, and so on.

We’ll undoubtedly see increased arts and culture coverage. Smart newsrooms will pair that coverage with unique design and new formats so that the journalism becomes an artistic experience in and of itself.

The newsrooms that will most successfully tap into this fundamental change will experiment with formats that allow their audiences to escape social isolation and help audiences absolve the limitations of locked-in spaces. 2021 is when audiences (en masse) will be ready for innovations in technology and space and new ways to interact with their world. 2021 is the right time for newsrooms to experiment with AR, VR, and other types of dynamic storytelling that allow viewers to escape beyond a 2-D screen. Some newsrooms might even create formats that teach us how to integrate into a world that is fundamentally different than it was two years ago.

Zainab Khan is audience strategy editor for video at The New York Times.

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