8 headlines from the Reuters Institute future of news report

8 headlines from the Reuters Institute future of news report

A Facebook backlash, robot journalism, audio and slow news, are all among news trends spotlighted in a report published by the Reuters Institute.

The Digital News Project at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has published its Journalism, Media, and Technology Trends and Predictions for 2019.

The lead author of the report for the past seven years has been Senior Research Associate Nic Newman. He has strong credentials in news innovation as a founder of the BBC News website and former digital developer within the BBC.

The 50-page report collates the view of 200 editors, CEO and digital leaders within the news industry. It includes a review of the news business in 2018 and looks forward to the next 12 months.

#1 Techlash

Platforms will step up their battle against fake news but 2019 will be the year when regulation starts to bite following growing concern about misinformation, privacy and market power. There’ll be a renewed focus on trust indicators for news and better labelling designed to help consumers decide what and who to trust.

#2 Commercialisation strategies

Subscription and membership is a key priority for the news industry. More than half (52%) expect this to be the main revenue focus in 2019, compared with just 27% for display advertising, 8% for native advertising and 7% for donations.

#3 Facebook fatigue but Google strong

The news industry is losing patience with Facebook and publishers are re-focusing attention elsewhere. Less than half of respondents (43%) say the platform is likely to be important or extremely important this year, a similar number to Apple News and YouTube, but far less than for Google (87%).

#4 Robot journalists

More than three-quarters (78%) think it is important to invest more in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help secure the future of journalism but not as an alternative to employing more editors. Most see increased personalisation as a critical pathway to the future (73%).

#5 Audio ascendency

With many publishers launching new daily news podcasts, 75% think that audio will become a more important part of their content and commercial strategies. A similar proportion (78%) think that emerging voice-activated technologies will have a significant impact on how audiences access content over the next few years.

#6 Paywall fatigue

Paywalls are shutting consumers off from quality news and making the internet harder to navigate. Consumer irritation will build this year, leading to a combination of more news avoidance and the adoption of paywall-blocking software.

#7 Slow news

Slow news becomes a theme with the launch of new journalistic enterprises like Tortoise (UK) and the Dutch De Correspondent expanding to the US. These are billed as an antidote to the current glut of quick, shallow and reactive coverage. But how many will join and pay?

#8 Digital detox

In a related point, as consumers become increasingly conscious of the time they are wasting online, we’ll see more people leaving social networks, more tools for digital detox, and more focus on meaningful content.

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