The news gets spatial

“This isn’t a 2025-and-beyond journalism prediction — it’s here now.”

You don’t have to look any further than the latest tech products to understand that depth-sensing and spatial audio technologies will reshape the future of interaction that extends beyond a screen. We’ll see a significant shift in how users interact with data, which will require organizations to build new teams dedicated to the exploration of news within a digitally mapped world.

This isn’t a 2025-and-beyond journalism prediction — it’s here now.

The introduction of 5G and robust LiDAR technologies into mobile devices will demand that our industry do more, and our users will expect it. Casual users will quickly become tech-savvy ones who seek the content experiences that leverage, not just one, but all technologies best. We will begin to explore a spatial computing future that seamlessly connects our content experiences across many devices, including immersive technology platforms.

Organizations across the media industry will create teams dedicated to the exploration of immersive storytelling powered by the convergence of technologies like 5G, AI, and LiDAR. These teams will be a cross-section of several disciplines from across an organization and include talent with non-journalism backgrounds. These small dedicated teams will move innovation beyond a talking point into actionable experiments that will guide the industry.

Expect to see the evolution of audio beyond the podcast, interactive volumetric video experiences, galleries of 3D content captured by LiDAR, and immersive data visualizations. The future of interactive storytelling is about to get even more complicated. Are you ready?

Ray Soto is director of emerging technology for the USA Today Network.

You don’t have to look any further than the latest tech products to understand that depth-sensing and spatial audio technologies will reshape the future of interaction that extends beyond a screen. We’ll see a significant shift in how users interact with data, which will require organizations to build new teams dedicated to the exploration of news within a digitally mapped world.

This isn’t a 2025-and-beyond journalism prediction — it’s here now.

The introduction of 5G and robust LiDAR technologies into mobile devices will demand that our industry do more, and our users will expect it. Casual users will quickly become tech-savvy ones who seek the content experiences that leverage, not just one, but all technologies best. We will begin to explore a spatial computing future that seamlessly connects our content experiences across many devices, including immersive technology platforms.

Organizations across the media industry will create teams dedicated to the exploration of immersive storytelling powered by the convergence of technologies like 5G, AI, and LiDAR. These teams will be a cross-section of several disciplines from across an organization and include talent with non-journalism backgrounds. These small dedicated teams will move innovation beyond a talking point into actionable experiments that will guide the industry.

Expect to see the evolution of audio beyond the podcast, interactive volumetric video experiences, galleries of 3D content captured by LiDAR, and immersive data visualizations. The future of interactive storytelling is about to get even more complicated. Are you ready?

Ray Soto is director of emerging technology for the USA Today Network.

Matt DeRienzo   Citizen truth brigades steer us back toward reality

Mike Ananny   Toward better tech journalism

Gordon Crovitz   Common law will finally apply to the Internet

Edward Roussel   Tech companies get aggressive in local

Taylor Lorenz   Journalists will learn influencing isn’t easy

A.J. Bauer   The year of MAGAcal thinking

Burt Herman   Journalists build post-Facebook digital communities

Astead W. Herndon   The Trump-sized window of the media caring about race closes again

Andrew Ramsammy   Stop being polite and start getting real

Marissa Evans   Putting community trauma into context

C.W. Anderson   Journalism changed under Trump — will it keep changing under Biden?

M. Scott Havens   Traditional pay TV will embrace the disruption

Sarah Stonbely   Videoconferencing brings more geographic diversity

Ståle Grut   Network analysis enters the journalism toolbox

María Sánchez Díez   Traffic will plummet — and it’ll be ok

Samantha Ragland   The year of journalists taking initiative

Catalina Albeanu   Publish less, listen more

Tanya Cordrey   Declining trust forces publishers to claim (or disclaim) values

Sarah Marshall   The year audiences need extra cheer

Tauhid Chappell and Mike Rispoli   Defund the crime beat

Charo Henríquez   A new path to leadership

J. Siguru Wahutu   Journalists still wrongly think the U.S. is different

Sonali Prasad   Making disaster journalism that cuts through the noise

David Skok   A pandemic-prompted wave of consolidation

Nabiha Syed   Newsrooms quit their toxic relationships

Mandy Jenkins   You build trust by helping your readers

John Saroff   Covid sparks the growth of independent local news sites

Jody Brannon   People won’t renew

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting dodged a bullet in 2020, but 2021 will be harder

Rishad Patel   From direct-to-consumer to direct-to-believers

Celeste Headlee   The rise of radical newsroom transparency

Moreno Cruz Osório   In Brazil, a push for pluralism

Francesca Tripodi   Don’t expect breaking up Google and Facebook to solve our information woes

Rachel Glickhouse   Journalists will be kinder to each other — and to themselves

Richard Tofel   Less on politics, more on how government works (or doesn’t)

Masuma Ahuja   We’ll remember how interconnected our world is

Cory Haik   Be essential

Delia Cai   Subscriptions start working for the middle

Kevin D. Grant   Parachute journalism goes away for good

Anna Nirmala   Local news orgs grasp the urgency of community roots

Mark Stenberg   The rise of the journalist-influencer

Stefanie Murray and Anthony Advincula   Expect to see more translations and non-English content

Talmon Joseph Smith   The media rejects deficit hawkery

Ben Werdmuller   The web blooms again

Shaydanay Urbani and Nancy Watzman   Local collaboration is key to slowing misinformation

Imaeyen Ibanga   Journalism gets unmasked

Danielle C. Belton   A decimated media rededicates itself to truth

Jeremy Gilbert   Human-centered journalism

Renée Kaplan   Falling in love with your subscription

Nonny de la Pena   News reaches the third dimension

Marie Shanahan   Journalism schools stop perpetuating the status quo

Nicholas Jackson   Blogging is back, but better

Rick Berke   Virtual events are here to stay

Ben Collins   We need to learn how to talk to (and about) accidental conspiracists

Tonya Mosley   True equity means ownership

Chicas Poderosas   More voices mean better information

Aaron Foley   Diversity gains haven’t shown up in local news

Ariel Zirulnick   Local newsrooms question their paywalls

Meredith D. Clark   The year journalism starts paying reparations

Doris Truong   Indigenous issues get long-overdue mainstream coverage

Garance Franke-Ruta   Rebundling content, rebuilding connections

John Garrett   A surprisingly good year

Kawandeep Virdee   Goodbye, doomscroll

Colleen Shalby   The definition of good journalism shifts

Nikki Usher   Don’t expect an antitrust dividend for the media

David Chavern   Local video finally gets momentum

Jacqué Palmer   The rise of the plain-text email newsletter

Ryan Kellett   The bundle gets bundled

Logan Jaffe   History as a reporting tool

Jer Thorp   Fewer pixels, more cardboard

Kristen Muller   Engaged journalism scales

Julia Angwin   Show your (computational) work

Hossein Derakhshan   Mass personalization of truth

Beena Raghavendran   Journalism gets fused with art

Mike Caulfield   2021’s misinformation will look a lot like 2020’s (and 2019’s, and…)

Rodney Gibbs   Zooming beyond talking heads

Amara Aguilar   Journalism schools emphasize listening

Chase Davis   The year we look beyond The Story

Kerri Hoffman   Protecting podcasting’s open ecosystem

Jennifer Choi   What have we done for you lately?

Steve Henn   Has independent podcasting peaked?

Bill Adair   The future of fact-checking is all about structured data

Natalie Meade   Journalism enters rehab

Hadjar Benmiloud   Get representative, or die trying

Errin Haines   Let’s normalize women’s leadership

Basile Simon   Graphics, unite

Bo Hee Kim   Newsrooms create an intentional and collaborative culture

Ernie Smith   Entrepreneurship on rails

Jennifer Brandel   A sneak peak at power mapping, 2073’s top innovation

Jean Friedman-Rudovsky and Cassie Haynes   A shift from conversation to action

Sara M. Watson   Return of the RSS reader

Nico Gendron   Ask your readers to help build your products

Michael W. Wagner   Fractured democracy, fractured journalism

John Ketchum   More journalists of color become newsroom founders

Whitney Phillips   Facts are an insufficient response to falsehoods

Julia B. Chan and Kim Bui   Millennials are ready to run things

Patrick Butler   Covid-19 reporting has prepared us for cross-border collaboration

Francesco Zaffarano   The year we ask the audience what it needs

Jessica Clark   News becomes plural

Don Day   Business first, journalism second

Juleyka Lantigua   The download, podcasting’s metric king, gets dethroned

Parker Molloy   The press will risk elevating a Shadow President Trump

Sam Ford   We’ll find better ways to archive our work

Ariane Bernard   Going solo is still only a path for the few

Alyssa Zeisler   Holistic medicine for journalism

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   Stop pretending publishers are a united front

Cindy Royal   J-school grads maintain their optimism and adaptability

Joshua P. Darr   Legislatures will tackle the local news crisis

Matt Skibinski   Misinformation won’t stop unless we stop it

Robert Hernandez   Data and shame

Megan McCarthy   Readers embrace a low-information diet

Loretta Chao   Open up the profession

Alfred Hermida and Oscar Westlund   The virus ups data journalism’s game

Mark S. Luckie   Newsrooms and streaming services get cozy

Joanne McNeil   Newsrooms push back against Ivy League cronyism

Gabe Schneider   Another year of empty promises on diversity

Marcus Mabry   News orgs adapt to a post-Trump world (with Trump still in it)

Tamar Charney   Public radio has a midlife crisis

Zainab Khan   From understanding to feeling

Zizi Papacharissi   The year we rebuild the infrastructure of truth

Nisha Chittal   The year we stop pivoting

Anthony Nadler   Journalism struggles to find a new model of legitimacy

Jesse Holcomb   Genre erosion in nonprofit journalism

Alicia Bell and Simon Galperin   Media reparations now

Pia Frey   Building growth through tastemakers and their communities

Gonzalo del Peon   Collaborations expand from newsrooms to the business side

Cory Bergman   The year after a thousand earthquakes

Victor Pickard   The commercial era for local journalism is over

Pablo Boczkowski   Audiences have revolted. Will newsrooms adapt?

Laura E. Davis   The focus turns to newsroom leaders for lasting change

Jonas Kaiser   Toward a wehrhafte journalism

Janet Haven and Sam Hinds   Is this an AI newsroom?

Jim Friedlich   A newspaper renaissance reached by stopping the presses

An Xiao Mina   2020 isn’t a black swan — it’s a yellow canary

José Zamora   Walking the talk on diversity

Joni Deutsch   Local arts and music make journalism more joyous

Sumi Aggarwal   News literacy programs aren’t child’s play

Ray Soto   The news gets spatial

Heidi Tworek   A year of news mocktails

Brian Moritz   The year sports journalism changes for good

Cherian George   Enter the lamb warriors

Rachel Schallom   The rise of nonprofit journalism continues

Ashton Lattimore   Remote work helps level the playing field in an insular industry

Brandy Zadrozny   Misinformation fatigue sets in

Tshepo Tshabalala   Go niche

Annie Rudd   Newsrooms grow less comfortable with the “view from above”

Kate Myers   My son will join every Zoom call in our industry

Christoph Mergerson   Black Americans will demand more from journalism

Sue Cross   A global consensus around the kind of news we need to save

Candis Callison   Calling it a crisis isn’t enough (if it ever was)

Mariano Blejman   It’s time to challenge autocompleted journalism

John Davidow   Reflect and repent

Linda Solomon Wood   Canada steps up for journalism

Raney Aronson-Rath   To get past information divides, we need to understand them first

Tim Carmody   Spotify will make big waves in video

Andrew Donohue   The rise of the democracy beat

Benjamin Toff   Beltway reporting gets normal again, for better and for worse