2012 Major Trends:
1) Mobile may be leading to a deeper experience with news than on the desktop/laptop computer.
2) Social media are important but not overwhelming drivers of news, at least not yet.
3) News viewership on television grew in unexpected venues.
4) More news outlets will move to digital subscriptions in 2012 — as a matter of survival
5) As privacy becomes an even larger issue, the impact on news is uncertain.
1) The news industry is turning to executives from outside.
2) Less progress has been made charging for news than predicted, but there are some signs of willingness to pay.
3) If anything, the metrics of online news have become more confused, not less.
4) Local news remains the vast untapped territory. Most traditional American media —and much of U.S. ad revenue – are local. The dynamics of that market online are still largely undefined. The potential, though, is clear. Already 40% of all online ad spending is local, up from 30% just a year earlier.
5) The new conventional wisdom is that the economic model for news will be made up of many smaller and more complex revenue sources than before.
6) The bailout of the auto industry helped with the media’s modest recovery in 2010.
1) As we learn more about both web economics and consumer behavior, the unbundling of news seems increasingly central to journalism’s future. The old model of journalism involved news organizations taking revenue from one social transaction — the selling of real estate, cars and groceries or job hunting, for example, — and using it to monitor civic life — covering city councils and zoning commissions and conducting watchdog investigations. Editors assembled a wide range of news, but the popularity of each story was subordinate to the value, and the aggregate audience, of the whole. And the value of the story might be found in its consequence rather than its popularity. That model is breaking down. Online, it is becoming increasingly clear, consumers are not seeking out news organizations for their full news agenda. They are hunting the news by topic and by event and grazing across multiple outlets.
2) The future of New and Old Media are more tied together than some may think. A new multi-university study released in this report finds that even the best new-media sites in the country still have limited ability to produce content. No doubt they will evolve.
3) The notion that the news media are shrinking is mistaken. Reportorial journalism is getting smaller, but the commentary and discussion aspect of media, which adds analysis, passion and agenda shaping, is growing.
4) Technology is further shifting power to newsmakers, and the newest way is through their ability to control the initial accounts of events. For now at least, digital technology is shifting more emphasis and resources toward breaking news.
5) The ranks of self-interested information providers are now growing rapidly and news organizations must define their relationship to them. As newsrooms get smaller, the range of non-journalistic players entering the information and news field is growing rapidly. The ranks include companies, think tanks, activists, government and partisans.
6) When it comes to audience numbers online, traditional media content still prevails, which means the cutbacks in old media heavily impact what the public is learning through the new.
1) The growing public debate over how to finance the news industry may well be focusing on the wrong remedies while other ideas go largely unexplored.
2) Power is shifting to the individual journalist and away, by degrees, from journalistic institutions.
3) On the Web, news organizations are focusing somewhat less on bringing audiences in and more on pushing content out.
4) The concept of partnership, motivated in part by desperation, is becoming a major focus of news investment and it may offer prospects for the financial future of news.
5) Even if cable news does not keep the audience gains of 2008, its rise is accelerating another change—the elevation of the minute-by-minute judgment in political journalism.
6) In its campaign coverage, the press was more reactive and passive and less of an enterprising investigator of the candidates than it once was.
1) News is shifting from being a product — today’s newspaper, Web site or newscast — to becoming a service — how can you help me, even empower me?
2) A news organization and a news Web site are no longer final destinations.
3) The prospects for user-created content, once thought possibly central to the next era of journalism, for now appear more limited, even among “citizen” sites and blogs.
4) Increasingly, the newsroom is perceived as the more innovative and experimental part of the news industry.
5) The agenda of the American news media continues to narrow, not broaden.
6) Madison Avenue, rather than pushing change, appears to be having trouble keeping up with it.
1) News organizations need to do more to think through the implications of this new era of shrinking ambitions. The move toward building audience around “franchise” areas of coverage or other traits is a logical response to fragmentation and can, managed creatively, have journalistic value.
2 )The evidence is mounting that the news industry must become more aggressive about developing a new economic model. The signs are clearer that advertising works differently online than in older media.
3) The key question is whether the investment community sees the news business as a declining industry or an emerging one in transition.
4) There are growing questions about whether the dominant ownership model of the last generation, the public corporation, is suited to the transition newsrooms must now make.
5) The Argument Culture is giving way to something new, the Answer Culture.
6) Blogging is on the brink of a new phase that will probably include scandal, profitability for some, and a splintering into elites and non-elites over standards and ethics. While journalists are becoming more serious about the Web, no clear models of how to do journalism online really exist yet, and some qualities are still only marginally explored.
1) The new paradox of journalism is more outlets covering fewer stories.
2) The species of newspaper that may be most threatened is the big-city metro paper that came to dominate in the latter part of the 20th century.
3) At many old-media companies, though not all, the decades-long battle at the top between idealists and accountants is now over. The idealists have lost. The troubles of 2005, especially in print, dealt a further blow to the fight for journalism in the public interest. That said, traditional media do appear to be moving toward technological innovation — finally.
4) The new challengers to the old media, the aggregators, are also playing with limited time. When it comes to news, what companies like Google and Yahoo are aggregating and selling is the work of others — the very same old media they are taking revenue away from. The more they succeed, the faster they erode the product they are selling, unless the economic model is radically changed. Already there are rumblings. One thing to watch for in 2006 is whether old-media content producers demand that Google News begin to pay them for content. Another option for the aggregators is to begin to produce their own news, and already we are seeing baby steps; in 2005, Yahoo announced it would hire some journalists, but the effort is still minimal. Can the new rivals become more than technology companies? And if they do, will they have more than rhetorical allegiance to the values of public-interest journalism?
5) The central economic question in journalism continues to be how long it will take online journalism to become a major economic engine, and if it will ever be as big as print or television. If the online revenues at newspapers continue to grow at the current rate — an improbable 33% a year — they won’t reach levels equivalent with print until 2017 (assuming print grows just 3% a year). Realistically, even with the lower delivery costs online, it will be years before the Internet rivals old media economics, if it ever does. Fledgling efforts to get consumers to pay for online content edged forward in 2005, but only marginally. All this only adds to the likelihood that the next battleground will be producers of old media challenging Internet providers and Internet aggregators to begin compensating them for content, the model that exists in cable.
6) Those trends are in addition to others we have identified in earlier years. Among them: that the traditional model of journalism — the press as verifier — is giving way to other models that are faster, looser and cheaper; to adapt, journalism must move in the direction of making its work more transparent and more expert and widening the scope.
1) There are now several models of journalism, and the trajectory increasingly is toward those that are faster, looser, and cheaper. The traditional press model – the journalism of verification – is one in which journalists are concerned first with trying to substantiate facts. It has ceded ground for years on talk shows and cable to a new journalism of assertion, where information is offered with little time and little attempt to independently verify its veracity.
2) The rise in partisanship of news consumption and the notion that people have retreated to their ideological corners for news has been widely exaggerated.
3) To adapt, journalism may have to move in the direction of making its work more transparent and more expert, and of widening the scope of its searchlight.
4) Despite the new demands, there is more evidence than ever that the mainstream media are investing only cautiously in building new audiences. That is true even online, where audiences are growing. Our data suggest that news organizations have imposed more cutbacks in their Internet operations than in their old media, and where the investment has come is in technology for processing information, not people to gather it. One reason is that the new technologies are still providing relatively modest revenues. The problem is that the traditional media are leaving it to technology companies – like Google – and to individuals and entrepreneurs – like bloggers – to explore and innovate on the Internet. The risk is that traditional journalism will cede to such competitors both the new technology and the audience that is building there. For now, traditional media brands still control most of where audiences go online for news, but that is already beginning to change. In 2004, Google News emerged as a major new player in online news, and the audience for bloggers grew by 58% in six months, to 32 million people.
5) The three broadcast network news divisions face their most important moment of transition in decades.
1) A growing number of news outlets are chasing relatively static or even shrinking audiences for news.
2) Much of the new investment in journalism today – much of the information revolution generally – is in disseminating the news, not in collecting it. Most sectors of the media are cutting back in the newsroom, both in terms of staff and in the time they have to gather and report the news.
3) In many parts of the news media, we are increasingly getting the raw elements of news as the end product.
4) Journalistic standards now vary even inside a single news organization.
5) Without investing in building new audiences, the long-term outlook for many traditional news outlets seems problematic.
6) Convergence seems more inevitable and potentially less threatening to journalists than it may have seemed a few years ago. At least for now, online journalism appears to be leading more to convergence with older media rather than replacement of it.
7) The biggest question may not be technological but economic. While journalistically online appears to represent opportunity for old media rather than simply cannibalization, the bigger issue may be financial. If online proves to be a less useful medium for subscription fees or advertising, will it provide as strong an economic foundation for newsgathering as television and newspapers have? If not, the move to the Web may lead to a general decline in the scope and quality of American journalism, not because the medium isn’t suited for news, but because it isn’t suited to the kind of profits that underwrite newsgathering.
8) Those who would manipulate the press and public appear to be gaining leverage over the journalists who cover them.