Professional Development

RIP Twitter, and 9 other gutsy predictions for the future of journalism

Twitter, Facebook and Google are all toast. Expect reporting from unexpected organizations. Photogs > writers. For the 10th annual Klein News Innovation Camp, we gazed at the future of news.

Your Twitter account will be gone in 10 years, Klein Camp predicts. (Photo by Trenae Nuri)

Societal tipping points invariably shape what journalism looks like.

Think of the changes brought about by 19th-century industrialization, the global suffering of the World Wars or the advent of television. Today, even, amid an ever-escalating digital revolution, the business model that long supported journalism and the tools we use to produce it are different than just a decade ago. The amount of memes is also insanely higher.

But the mission, and the passion, remain the same. That much we heard loud and clear last Saturday, when a group of a 100 journalists traded lessons on the news business at’s yearly journalism unconference, Klein News Innovation Camp.

In honor of the reaching the decade mark, we asked 10 longtime attendees to look ahead at the next 10 years of journalism. Their predictions drew “oohs” and “aaahs” from the lunchtime crowd inside Temple University’s Annenberg Hall. OK, and maybe a skeptical “nah” or two.

“We’ll witness the death of Twitter.”

Whoa. Jessica Estepa, editor at USA Today, pointed to a recent University of Utah/Temple University study to say reporters, by and large, have let tweets punch above their weight class when it comes to news-worthiness.

“We’ll see journalism produced by organizations with entirely different business models.”

Journalism, CEO Christopher Wink said, isn’t an industry but a set of values and practices. The next decade will see different types of entities produce their own reporting.

“Newsrooms will be challenged by how we leverage user data to interact with readers, balancing both personalization and ads.”

Good news for software makers: Aram Zucker-Scharff of the Washington Post said journalism institutions will see an increasing dependence on tools that exist on the backend or server side to deliver on functions like parsing content before it reaches sees the user.

“We’ll see the next generation of distribution platforms. Facebook and Google will no longer be the two biggest traffic sources for publications.”

To Estepa’s prediction of a murder (RIP Twitter) InVision’s Sean Blanda predicts a “massacre” that will see the end of the two largest traffic drivers for digital media cease their dominance. “It will not happen overnight,” Blanda warns. “It may be a long haul that maybe not everyone can stomach. But for those that can, they’ll be relying less on outside forces and therefore more sustainable.”

“News organizations will grapple with the coordinated harassment of their teams or the most challenging work will go undone.”

A sad forecast from Vox Media’s Chris Grant: there won’t be a let up in harassment over the next 10 years (either physical or online). Newsrooms will need to have protocols in place to rise above the tensions and still deliver on mission.

“In a world with so much information, even the act of curating information will be an expression of your framework.”

TED Managing Editor Emily McManus says we’ve probably seen the last generation of news consumers who expect organizations to strive for objectivity.

“Visual storytelling will become an even bigger part of how newsrooms, large and small, tell stories, and reach and retain audiences.”

Though the audience mostly agreed with the larger narrative that imagery will remain key, Wall Street Journal’s Dave Cole claim that photographers will be more important than writers in 10 years’ time raised some eyebrows. Others didn’t bat an eye.

“Place will become the primary factor in how and when we deliver journalism and how we choose to assign responsibilities.”

Despite all the remote-based editor roles available out there, Lenfest Institute’s Andre Natta says that geography will become more important, not less, when it comes to the creation and delivery of journalism.

“Newsrooms will look more like the communities they serve. Or they will fail.”

You can typically expect straight talk from Philadelphia Tribune reporter Bobbi Booker. Her prediction did not disappoint: Either newsrooms embrace diversity or the disconnect will off them in the long run.

“First, do no harm: News consumers will hold journalists more accountable to report without hurting people.”

Longtime Daily News photographer Jim MacMillan, currently at Temple University’s School of Media and Communication (though not for long!), has somewhat of a bone to pick with his old newsroom. There’s not enough solutions-focused coverage around gun violence, and too much episodic storytelling, he’s said.

But more accurately, MacMillan’s beef is with the state of local journalism. That’s why the Pulitzer prize winner and local organizer is forecasting that readers will actively demand a do-no-harm approach to reporting.

Companies: Temple University

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