Finding new ways to reach news avoiders

“Let’s make it harder to avoid the news and a whole lot easier to get caught up.”

The existing media ecosystem suits news junkies relatively well, but it fails a huge number of casual consumers. This failure is a massive market opportunity, one that’s becoming easier to see as we hurtle toward a new year.

One of my final segments on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” was about the exhausting nature of the modern news cycle and the resulting rise of “selective news avoidance,” a term highlighted by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

The issue isn’t new. Outlets like Nieman Lab have been writing about news avoiders for years. In the United States, some people who rarely keep up with the news like it that way, perhaps to protect their own sanity. And another subset, mostly on the right, shun America’s main news sources and opt into an alternative media system that supplies very little reporting but lots of rage bait. But a great number of other Americans are reachable with thoughtful new approaches to storytelling and distribution.

Think about the way a typical day-of news story is constructed: If you’re not steeped in the most recent developments, it seems to start in the middle rather than at the beginning. Headlines, push alerts and social posts also tend to favor the news junkie over the grazer. There are sound business reasons for this — but it leaves a terrific amount of space for new businesses to emerge. And in 2023, they will. Let’s make it harder to avoid the news and a whole lot easier to get caught up.

Brian Stelter, former anchor of CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” is the Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

The existing media ecosystem suits news junkies relatively well, but it fails a huge number of casual consumers. This failure is a massive market opportunity, one that’s becoming easier to see as we hurtle toward a new year.

One of my final segments on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” was about the exhausting nature of the modern news cycle and the resulting rise of “selective news avoidance,” a term highlighted by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

The issue isn’t new. Outlets like Nieman Lab have been writing about news avoiders for years. In the United States, some people who rarely keep up with the news like it that way, perhaps to protect their own sanity. And another subset, mostly on the right, shun America’s main news sources and opt into an alternative media system that supplies very little reporting but lots of rage bait. But a great number of other Americans are reachable with thoughtful new approaches to storytelling and distribution.

Think about the way a typical day-of news story is constructed: If you’re not steeped in the most recent developments, it seems to start in the middle rather than at the beginning. Headlines, push alerts and social posts also tend to favor the news junkie over the grazer. There are sound business reasons for this — but it leaves a terrific amount of space for new businesses to emerge. And in 2023, they will. Let’s make it harder to avoid the news and a whole lot easier to get caught up.

Brian Stelter, former anchor of CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” is the Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

Emma Carew Grovum   The year to resist forgetting about diversity

Larry Ryckman   We’ll work together with our competitors

Surya Mattu   Data journalists learn from photojournalists

Gabe Schneider   Well-funded journalism leaders stop making disparate pay

Julia Angwin   Democracies will get serious about saving journalism

Upasna Gautam   Technology that performs at the speed of news

Andrew Donohue   We’ll find out whether journalism can, indeed, save democracy

Danielle K. Brown and Kathleen Searles   DEI efforts must consider mental health and online abuse

Laura E. Davis   The year we embrace the robots — and ourselves

Eric Thurm   Journalists think of themselves as workers

Tim Carmody   Newsletter writers need a new ethics

Priyanjana Bengani   Partisan local news networks will collaborate

Snigdha Sur   Newsrooms get nimble in a recession

Rodney Gibbs   Recalibrating how we work apart

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Well-being will become a core tenet of journalism

Alexandra Borchardt   The year of the climate journalism strategy

Nikki Usher   This is the year of the RSS reader. (Really!)

Masuma Ahuja   Journalism starts working for and with its communities

Esther Kezia Thorpe   Subscription pressures force product innovation

Alexandra Svokos   Working harder to reach audiences where they are

Sue Schardt   Toward a new poetics of journalism

Pia Frey   Publishers start polling their users at scale

Megan Lucero and Shirish Kulkarni   The future of journalism is not you

Jennifer Brandel   AI couldn’t care less. Journalists will care more. 

Khushbu Shah   Global reporting will suffer

Juleyka Lantigua   Newsrooms recognize women of color as the canaries in the coal mine

Jonas Kaiser   Rejecting the “free speech” frame

Mar Cabra   The inevitable mental health revolution

David Skok   Renewed interest in human-powered reporting

Leezel Tanglao   Community partnerships drive better reporting

S. Mitra Kalita   “Everything sucks. Good luck to you.”

Brian Moritz   Rebuilding the news bundle

Anna Nirmala   News organizations get new structures

Ben Werdmuller   The internet is up for grabs again

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Journalists productively harness generative AI tools

Simon Galperin   Philanthropy stops investing in corporate media

Parker Molloy   We’ll reach new heights of moral panic

An Xiao Mina   Journalism in a time of permacrisis

Eric Ulken   Generative AI brings wrongness at scale

Janet Haven   ChatGPT and the future of trust 

Paul Cheung   More news organizations will realize they are in the business of impact, not eyeballs

Ståle Grut   Your newsroom experiences a Midjourney-gate, too

Sarah Alvarez   Dream bigger or lose out

Joe Amditis   AI throws a lifeline to local publishers

Amethyst J. Davis   The slight of the great contraction

Johannes Klingebiel   The innovation team, R.I.P.

Joanne McNeil   Facebook and the media kiss and make up

Burt Herman   The year AI truly arrives — and with it the reckoning

Martina Efeyini   Talk to Gen Z. They’re the experts of Gen Z.

Moreno Cruz Osório   Brazilian journalism turns wounds into action

Jacob L. Nelson   Despite it all, people will still want to be journalists

John Davidow   A year of intergenerational learning

Jim Friedlich   Local journalism steps up to the challenge of civic coverage

Michael W. Wagner   The backlash against pro-democracy reporting is coming

Kathy Lu   We need emotionally agile newsroom leaders

Joshua P. Darr   Local to live, wire to wither

Kerri Hoffman   Podcasting goes local

Delano Massey   The industry shakes its imposter syndrome

Matt Rasnic   More newsroom workers turn to organized labor

Jody Brannon   We’ll embrace policy remedies

Doris Truong   Workers demand to be paid what the job is worth

Dominic-Madori Davis   Everyone finally realizes the need for diverse voices in tech reporting

Sue Cross   Thinking and acting collectively to save the news

Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau   More of the same

Cory Bergman   The AI content flood

Mary Walter-Brown and Tristan Loper   Mission-driven metrics become our North Star

Cari Nazeer and Emily Goligoski   News organizations step up their support for caregivers

Nicholas Thompson   The year AI actually changes the media business

Jim VandeHei   There is no “peak newsletter”

Felicitas Carrique and Becca Aaronson   News product goes from trend to standard

Peter Sterne   AI enters the newsroom

Dannagal G. Young   Stop rewarding elite performances of identity threat

David Cohn   AI made this prediction

Francesco Zaffarano   There is no end of “social media”

Taylor Lorenz   The “creator economy” will be astroturfed

Jakob Moll   Journalism startups will think beyond English

Andrew Losowsky   Journalism realizes the replacement for Twitter is not a new Twitter

Joni Deutsch   Podcast collaboration — not competition — breeds excellence

Kavya Sukumar   Belling the cat: The rise of independent fact-checking at scale

Jarrad Henderson   Video editing will help people understand the media they consume

Julia Beizer   News fatigue shows us a clear path forward

Karina Montoya   More reporters on the antitrust beat

Eric Holthaus   As social media fragments, marginalized voices gain more power

Victor Pickard   The year journalism and capitalism finally divorce

Kaitlin C. Miller   Harassment in journalism won’t get better, but we’ll talk about it more openly

Walter Frick   Journalists wake up to the power of prediction markets

Sam Gregory   Synthetic media forces us to understand how media gets made

Shanté Cosme   The answer to “quiet quitting” is radical empathy

Cassandra Etienne   Local news fellowships will help fight newsroom inequities

Alex Perry   New paths to transparency without Twitter

Anita Varma   Journalism prioritizes the basic need for survival

Alex Sujong Laughlin   Credit where it’s due

Anthony Nadler   Confronting media gerrymandering

Ryan Nave   Citizen journalism, but make it equitable

Elite Truong   In platform collapse, an opportunity for community

Nicholas Jackson   There will be launches — and we’ll keep doing the work

Peter Bale   Rising costs force more digital innovation

Kirstin McCudden   We’ll codify protection of journalism and newsgathering

J. Siguru Wahutu   American journalism reckons with its colonialist tendencies

Errin Haines   Journalists on the campaign trail mend trust with the public

Wilson Liévano   Diaspora journalism takes the next step

Jenna Weiss-Berman   The economic downturn benefits the podcasting industry. (No, really!)

Josh Schwartz   The AI spammers are coming

Jesse Holcomb   Buffeted, whipped, bullied, pulled

Janelle Salanga   Journalists work from a place of harm reduction

Laxmi Parthasarathy   Unlocking the silent demand for international journalism

Alan Henry   A reckoning with why trust in news is so low

Michael Schudson   Journalism gets more and more difficult

Tre'vell Anderson   Continued culpability in anti-trans campaigns

Sam Guzik   AI will start fact-checking. We may not like the results.

Sumi Aggarwal   Smart newsrooms will prioritize board development

Sue Robinson   Engagement journalism will have to confront a tougher reality

Kaitlyn Wells   We’ll prioritize media literacy for children

Brian Stelter   Finding new ways to reach news avoiders

Lisa Heyamoto   The independent news industry gets a roadmap to sustainability

Barbara Raab   More journalism funders will take more risks

Ryan Kellett   Airline-like loyalty programs try to tie down news readers

Eric Nuzum   A focus on people instead of power

Raney Aronson-Rath   Journalists will band together to fight intimidation

Jessica Clark   Open discourse retrenches

Sarah Marshall   A web channel strategy won’t be enough

Mael Vallejo   More threats to press freedom across the Americas

Al Lucca   Digital news design gets interesting again

Mario García   More newsrooms go mobile-first

Christina Shih   Shared values move from nice-to-haves to essentials

Gina Chua   The traditional story structure gets deconstructed

Gordon Crovitz   The year advertisers stop funding misinformation

Tamar Charney   Flux is the new stability

Mariana Moura Santos   A woman who speaks is a woman who changes the world

Sarah Stonbely   Growth in public funding for news and information at the state and local levels

Anika Anand   Independent news businesses lead the way on healthy work cultures

Sarabeth Berman   Nonprofit local news shows that it can scale

Basile Simon   Towards supporting criminal accountability

Christoph Mergerson   The rot at the core of the news business

Daniel Trielli   Trust in news will continue to fall. Just look at Brazil.

Stefanie Murray   The year U.S. media stops screwing around and becomes pro-democracy

Don Day   The news about the news is bad. I’m optimistic.

Amy Schmitz Weiss   Journalism education faces a crossroads

Hillary Frey   Death to the labor-intensive memo for prospective hires

Ryan Gantz   “I’m sorry, but I’m a large language model”

Ayala Panievsky   It’s time for PR for journalism

Ariel Zirulnick   Journalism doubles down on user needs

Bill Grueskin   Local news will come to rely on AI

Jessica Maddox   Journalists keep getting manipulated by internet culture

A.J. Bauer   Covering the right wrong

Molly de Aguiar and Mandy Van Deven   Narrative change trend brings new money to journalism

Rachel Glickhouse   Humanizing newsrooms will be a badge of honor

Cindy Royal   Yes, journalists should learn to code, but…

Zizi Papacharissi   Platforms are over

Susan Chira   Equipping local journalism

Richard Tofel   The press might get better at vetting presidential candidates

Jaden Amos   TikTok personality journalists continue to rise

Emily Nonko   Incarcerated reporters get more bylines

Jennifer Choi and Jonathan Jackson   Funders finally bet on next-generation news entrepreneurs

Bill Adair   The year of the fact-check (no, really!)

Dana Lacey   Tech will screw publishers over

Mauricio Cabrera   It’s no longer about audiences, it’s about communities