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Nieman Journalism Lab
Pushing to the future of journalism — A project of the Nieman Foundation at Harvard
To close out 2013, we asked some of the smartest people we know to predict what 2014 will bring for the future of journalism. Here’s what they had to say.
Updating regularly through Friday, December 20
Dan Gillmor
“If journalism is to matter, we can’t just raise big topics. We have to spread them, and then sustain them.”
Amy Webb
“Our interests are temporal, as is the news cycle. But those two don’t always align perfectly.”
Staci D. Kramer
“We have some serious firepower to throw at problems — and far too often, we have no idea if those problems already have good solutions.”
Miguel Paz
“Finally, some Latin American newsrooms will start understanding that news nerds — developers coding in the public interest within media — are an essential part of quality reporting.”
Juan Antonio Giner
“For all these reasons, if we don’t change the editorial model, our print product becomes just a compilation of old news, known stories, and heard comments. Dead bodies. Forensic journalism.”
Tiff Fehr
“Driven by FiveThirtyEight’s steadiness in the 2012 presidential election headwinds, today we seem to ask more questions about finding the best algorithm, model, or statistic.”
David Jacobs
“Writers need to find readers wherever they are, and as more media is produced on mobile devices and the process of consumption begins to look more and more like creation, this will become obvious.”
Alfred Hermida
“Reporters are not trained to talk about the holes in their reporting. But in a stream of constant updates, adding notes of caution can have much value.”
Mariano Blejman
“Understanding our proper audience will be disruptive at a time when the media has mostly left demographic analysis to social networks.”
Michelle Johnson
“Web design really becomes less about the web and more about mobile.”
Elise Hu
“As journalism gets more one-to-one, causes become more personal, and communities divide into subsets of subsets, someone will find a metric to meet the moment.”
Dan Shanoff
“It’s a trap to conflate popularity and the ability to build a new property.”
Adrienne Debigare
“Our future as an industry lies in our ability to tap into the resources and empirical insights that Big Data offers without eroding the trust of our users.”
Henry Blodget
“It is the newsrooms that are embracing these differences, as opposed to fighting them, that are growing and innovating as the medium develops.”
Etan Horowitz
“Consumers will increasingly expect to find their favorite media brands on new devices and platforms.”
Felix Salmon
“To a large degree, this is a discussion which only journalists, and maybe the occasional underemployed philosopher, could ever care about.”
Pablo Boczkowski
“The year ahead might bring news organizations that will pay more attention to the public. While that might be good for their bottom lines, it might also be bad for the quality of our democratic life.”
Cory Haik
“Now is the time to push the boundaries and use the best of those worlds in the service of storytelling.”
Martin Langeveld
“No grand strategy, no new business models for news will emerge from Omaha. Ultimately, these papers will be closed or sold.”
Sue Schardt
“We will begin to see fresh faces and hear new and unexpected voices on public media platforms that will grow over time.”
Ed O'Keefe
“Instagram, Facebook, Vine, Twitter, and Snapchat (srsly) are news mediums — because that’s where the audience is.”
Reyhan Harmanci
“The most successful media companies have figured out how to translate their core ideas into any number of forms.”
Elizabeth Green
“More niche nonprofit news organizations will be unmistakably good for democracy. The more knowledgeable our news sources, the more knowledgeable we can be as citizens and policymakers.”
Jason Kottke
“The Stream might be on the wane but still it dominates. All media on the web and in mobile apps has blog DNA in it and will continue to for a long while.”
Jenna Wortham
“The demand is there if the experience is new enough and original enough.”
James G. Robinson
“2014 is the year that newsrooms will begin to think of analytics as a way to increase the quality of their readership, not just the quantity.”
Tasneem Raja
“The levels of wit, critical thinking, domain knowledge, netspeak literacy, digital acumen — and, of course, diversity — on display in these conversations should have editors sitting up and taking note.”
Justin Auciello
“Covering the realities of everyday life — car accidents, house fires, general police activity, weather emergencies — is well suited to the citizen journalist.”
Carrie Brown-Smith
“The startups most likely to succeed will be those that are closest to their communities and that have an intimate understanding of their readers’ information-seeking behaviors and motivations.”
Lauren Rabaino
“We’re limiting the opportunity for our readers to understand all the intersecting impacts by reducing context to a few paragraphs of background.”
Katie Zhu
“Newsrooms are going to start thinking about responsive in terms of tailoring experiences based on a reader’s context in the physical world.”
Rick Edmonds
“One- or two-time visitors are not a business opportunity — they are an accident.”
Evan Smith
“The hand-wringing about native advertising will give way to hand-clapping at the prospect of someone paying for serious journalism.”
Rasmus Kleis Nielsen
“When it comes to the future of news, as when it comes to so many other things, it is worth following the money.”
Sarah Marshall
“News sites will find new ways to use social media to surface stories from the archives and extend the lifecycle of content.”
Adrienne LaFrance
“Just imagine having a beat not tethered to a physical place or set topic, but an abstract and ever-changing linked set of ideas that you get to explore in real-time with other curious people.”
Hassan Hodges
“The initial consumer of content is increasingly not human. The consumer is software, and software’s favorite food is data.”
Mandy Brown
“No story should depend upon the presence of videos and other interactive elements; stripped of all styles and embeds, a story should remain readable and compelling on its own.”
Jim Schachter
“Our news reports and stories increasingly will be produced and packaged in forms divorced from the formats dictated by a radio clock.”
Damon Kiesow
“Apple has once again short-circuited an entire industry and started a land grab to connect the realms of digital advertising and physical transactions.”
Matt Haughey
“In the end, they spark important conversations about important topics, and those conversations don’t feel lessened if and when an original story gets undermined.”
Maria Bustillos
“The most interesting thing about the cream rising to the top faster is that the best writers on a given subject can find each other faster.”
Matt Waite
“It’s a matter of time — and I think that time is 2014 — until a paparazzo with no training and a drone bought off the Internet crashes into a very pretty face.”
Philip Bump
“We’ve proven to be relatively bad at verifying authenticity in the face of a culture that seems weirdly amused by tricking the press.”
Jennifer Brandel
“Audience engagement techniques will begin shifting away from the mindset of ‘What can they do for us?’ to ‘What can we do for them?'”
Jan Schaffer
“Let’s stop the handwringing about losses in legacy journalism and work on creating and growing the next acts in media.”
Erika Owens
“In 2014, we’ll all need to challenge ourselves to more publicly share and document not just how we deal with insecurity, but how we build our skills, networks, and confidence.”
Scott Klein
Scott Klein
“Every skill you don’t have leaves a whole class of stories out of your reach. And data stories are usually the ones that are hiding in plain sight.”
Allen Tan
“Institution-making is a messy process, but it doesn’t have to be a lonely one.”
Michael Schudson
“The answer will be what it has been since Walter Lippmann got it right 90 years ago.”
Fiona Spruill
“Smart journalists should experiment now, because at least one of these devices will move out of the geeks-only realm before we know it.”
Raju Narisetti
“The privileged status a newsroom enjoys ought to come with accountability and a responsibility to help sustain both journalism and the business of journalism.”