The core of the news business can be so intense and dynamic that it leaves little room for innovation. That’s why the ecosystem of the newsroom—and the journalists within it—is often last to implement technology and slow to revolutionize practices.
Fake news, a term now synonymous with our generation, has created an anti-journalistic atmosphere, leading to a loss of trust between publishers and their readers.
And simultaneously, economic powers connected to the duopoly are putting at risk the sustainability of the journalism business.
In order to adapt and survive, newsrooms will need to embrace these four changes that will shape their next few years.
Embracing commercial content
The game of the internet is clear: In order to consume free content, you must consume ads and branded content. This game is even more obvious to Generation Z, born and raised on the internet and not quick to object to commercial content as long as it provides value and is transparently labeled.
This relationship will evolve and become more refined in the next few years, as publishers and brands are required to explore new products to achieve contextual commercial content while upholding data and privacy policies—all with one goal in mind: Monetizing in order to survive.
Eventually, newsrooms will find the right recipe for keeping users—and their bottom lines—happy.
Owned-and-operated entities are becoming major players
With publishers shifting, it’s no wonder that advertisers are, as well. Over the next couple of years, we will see them stepping more and more into the editorial world, creating tailored content for their target audience—regardless of their commercial goals.
Technology companies will be delivering tech news to their audiences, and healthcare companies will report more about pharmaceutical innovation.
I predict that we will see more brands stepping into community management, transforming their users into storytellers and, to put it simply, forming their own versions of go-to newsrooms that are industry-specific.
Say hello to new characters
A new generation of journalists was born, and it’s one that no longer relies only on text and images. These multimedia storytellers acknowledge that today’s average reader wants to consume involving content where they can share a point of view, vote, rank and more.
This breed of journalists’ job is not simply to write text, but to craft a journey for readers through the use of other tools—maybe video, polls or analytics dashboards—all with the purpose of improving content consumption in order to get readers to come back for more.
I also predict that publishers will tap third-party consultants to guide their content -creation habits in order to understand what audiences want most. This can include neuromarketing experts that understand what type of content reawakens the brain and leads to content memorability.
How will the storyteller become more efficient and savvy in this new era, sans a significant increase in resources? One solution is artificial-intelligence-powered authoring assistive tools that will enable journalists to create editorial content quickly, elevating their ideas with relevant content and imagery and applying learned preferences to suggest more personalized storytelling to fit specific audiences.
I suspect that this is just the beginning, and journalists that barely managed the transition from print to digital are going to use technology in ways they never imagined pretty soon.
The future of the newsroom will encompass innovative, tech-driven and transparent journalism that will engage readers and make them a significant part of the story—whether those stories are paid for or not.
Yael Shafrir is vice president of international partnerships at Disney-backed storytelling platform Playbuzz.