THE ONCE PROFITABLE NEWS INDUSTRY IS TEETERING ON THE BRINK. The recession has battered advertising. Dailies are folding. Printing the New York Times for a year costs twice as much as sending every subscriber a free Kindle. The Daily Show is a more trusted source than network news. And consumers have been marginalized in media dialogue about how to save journalism.
Yet how we define and experience news can–and should–change for the better, if we ground ourselves in what people really need and want. The next four pages showcase two environments that put the future of news in the context of our daily lives. In these scenarios, we see that information has become even more personalized and hyperlocal–and, paradoxically, more communal, participatory, and global. Journalism is more like having a conversation. People speak with unique voices, take ownership of content, and establish credibility, which in turn enables strong communities in which news can thrive. Anything that’s notable to a person in a particular moment and place becomes newsworthy.
This future journalism is less beholden to current models of production, distribution, and advertising support–but nimble brands still find ways to thrive. Formerly obscure companies, like Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Wikipedia–now household names–are joined by other powerful companies in a network of touchpoints that lets us find the information we want as soon as we want it. News is supported by a web of contributions from consumers, for-profits, nonprofits, distribution partners, and other entities. Rather than eschewing risk and possible failure, brands (at least the ones that endure) shift from a top-down model of centralized distribution to become incubators for journalistic experiments.