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The hedge funds don’t have to win every time

Sadly, we’ll see more media consolidation in 2022, with more newspapers falling into hedge-fund hands. But I’m also sure we will see more digital startups popping up to offer alternatives in town after town. My view is that it’s not smart to bet against the hedge funds, but they don’t have to win every time. We all have choices — as journalists, readers, consumers, advertisers, and philanthropists. I’m putting my money...

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Audience engagement ≠ community engagement

Journalists have conflated audience engagement and community engagement for way too long — and in 2022, we’ll finally start treating them as distinct, complementary newsroom functions. The first is focused on building habit, loyalty, and audience revenue. The second is about understanding voids in the local ecosystem and positioning the newsroom to help fill those. A prediction about definitions probably sounds academic. But...

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It’s time for the global North to look South

It’s not hard to imagine some of the headlines that will be stamped across homepages in 2022. While world leaders still find it hard to come to an agreement on how to curb greenhouse gas emissions, California fires will be blazing, the Amazon will face deforestation, populations will be forced from their lands because of severe weather and its economic consequences. There’s no doubt: The climate crisis is here. As I see my peers...

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Data’s not enough: It’s time to meet with your community

In last year’s prediction, I wrote that the main lesson we could learn from the resurgence of journalism during the pandemic is that people need journalism as long as it proves relevant to their everyday lives. That is precisely why we should ask our audience what they need from us. Let’s be honest: We all knew that the effect of a Covid bump on news interest could not last too long. Despite an increase in news consumption at the...

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We remember the importance of face-to-face reporting

What new digital disruption does 2022 have in store for journalists? This year is actually gearing up to have more of a vintage flavor. With the Covid crisis still fresh, the spotlight is turning back to the good old low-tech art of on-the-ground reporting, Almost two years after a global health crisis forced newsrooms to improvise, coming back to the field and rekindling in-person interactions can be a challenge. Some reporters will...

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Journalism goes Web3

In 2022 journalism will “pivot” to Web3. Since the rise of digital media, we’ve seen news organizations realign priorities and resources towards potential new revenue streams, such as mobile, social, and video, with mixed results. This year we’ll see many ramp up their Web3 efforts. It makes sense. After all, Web3 offers new ways of monetizing archives and IP, creating patronage, rewarding readers, and funding startups. All...

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Audience development roles broaden further

Over the past decade, “audience development” has gone from a little-known marketing term to a familiar newsroom role. Now, audience development experts, audience engagement managers, and growth editors tasked with getting stories in front of more readers. Once upon a time, the skills needed were an understanding of SEO and the social levers. Later, the role expanded to audience development experts nerding out on newsletters,...

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Being honest about how journalists are different from their communities

Who we are as people affects how we do journalism. Our values, our lived experiences, our personal ethics, our surroundings, our friends…all of it influences what we’re curious about and what we find interesting. And collectively, that determines what we cover. It’s also pretty undeniable that, collectively, journalists have a lot more in common with each other than we often do with the communities we serve. We are also not...

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Publishing goes direct as news goes conversational

At this time of year in the U.K., families around the country are pulling Christmas crackers, invariably containing a bad joke and a trivia question of varying degrees of difficulty alongside a paper crown and a plastic yo-yo. This holiday season, here’s my Christmas cracker journalism trivia question for you all: Q: What do Finland, Italy, Argentina, Hong Kong, Turkey, and the U.K. all have in common? A: They’re all countries...

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Media stays Covid-escapist, but grief creeps in

Climate change coverage will evolve in unintended ways. News outlets may not have dedicated climate desks, but existing teams will have to cover news on their beat that is caused by global warming. Breaking news desks will cover more and more disasters, business desks will report on energy costs and supply chain breakdowns, and local desks will examine how flash flooding has damaged communities. Even the sports desks will need to...

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Doubling down on Brazilian journalism’s strengths to stand up for democracy

Threatened, exhausted, and working in a precarious labor environment. That is how Brazilian journalists walk into 2022. The pandemic seems to be on its way out. Although the world has grown heavy with the weight of the last two years — which sometimes feel like one and the same, atypical as they were — there’s hope on the horizon as vaccination campaigns make progresses (and despite the fear of new variants such as Omicron). We...

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Turning technology into an accelerant for truth

Earlier this month, Maria Ressa shared something with me that I’ve been thinking about ever since. Maria — the winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize alongside Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov — was talking with me on The Frontline Dispatch podcast about how this was the first time since 1935 that a journalist has won the award — and how she feels conditions are similar today in terms of what she calls “a global rise in...

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Can journalism survive in a post-news world?

The world of information has witnessed transformational changes in the past two decades, both in terms of the pace of exchange and quantum. Although access to information has been gradually increasing throughout our collective history, the sheer magnitude of change over the past decade alone dwarfs anything witnessed before. Just between 2010 to 2019, the world added 1.9 billion new internet users, and that number will only increase as...

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Drawing lines between corporate and local news

We’re getting better at explaining just how catastrophic the corporate takeover of newspapers in America has been. Media insiders have understood for decades that newspapers weren’t dying — they were being murdered. Now we’re finally saying it out loud, and in ways that make sense to the general public. It’s a significant improvement from sounding like (or even believing) we’re all on borrowed time. It’s great that...