Carnival of Journalism: Five positive predictions for new media in 2009

For this month’s Carnival of Journalism, Dave Cohn is asking for positive (if possible) predictions for the new media world of 2009.

How about 5?

  1. Mobile video streaming goes mainstream: Probably tied to disaster/breaking news reporting from non-professionals, a la 9/11 blogs, the YouTube tsunami of 2004, Flickr bombings of 2005, and the livetweeted siege of #Mumbai in 2008.  Whether it’s the expansion of a startup like Qik or Flixwagon or a wildcard like an improved iPhone with a real video camera, something is going to change in 2009 that’s going to put live mobile video at our fingertips.
  2. Fewer newspaper jobs means more local news startups:  As major metro news organizations continue to contract, consolidate, and implode, more journalists will walk away from the press, but not walk away from reporting.  Right now, most of this is happening at the national level (think: Politico) or in local blogs, but as more entrepreneurial journalists leave the “industry,” more of them will start small businesses of their own, reporting on their neighborhoods.
  3. Local news organizations will continue to improve at being “of” the Web and not just “on” it:  Yep, that means more newspapers (and local TV stations) on Twitter, blogging, livechatting, streaming video, participating in comment threads, and generally getting in gear — though still perhaps far behind the pace of Internet time.  This seems obvious enough, although as a media critic, if all you’re looking at is a selection of major metro papers, you’re not going to see the changes as clearly as readers — or participants in the news site’s social web — will see them.
  4. Alternative business models for monetizing journalism will flourish: There are plenty of ideas kicking around already on this front, although few of them are coming from traditional news organizations.  That won’t matter, because people with ideas for solving the riddle of funding quality journalism without the revenue of a standard daily print product are already having success.
  5. Crowdsourcing tools will evolve on the backs on existing platforms: I’m thinking DocumentCloud plus Twitter or Facebook, or some similar combination that lets a large news organization with a large social network power through large documents (think: US Attorney firings data dump analysis at Talking Points Memo, but with a much bigger crowd and structured data instead of a comment thread.)

And of course, a bonus prediction:

  • Major newspapers and huge newspaper companies will continue to consolidate, sputter, fail, and close — but it won’t matter.  The people formerly known as readers will be too busy informing each other about their world to notice.

So, got any predictions of your own for 2009? (Remember, we’re trying to keep it positive…)

4 thoughts on “Carnival of Journalism: Five positive predictions for new media in 2009”

  1. How about these?

    — News organizations will learn how to use Twitter and other new media in ways that don’t trivialize or demean either the organization or the medium itself. (For a “what not to do” case in point, see CNN’s segment today in which coverage of the Denver plane crash was augmented with tweets from viewers. The headline was “PLANE CRASH! OMG!” and the tweets running along the bottom of the screen informed us of things like “I once twittered from a Bon Jovi concert” and “Believe it or not, I twitter from the shower.” The end result? If you had in your mind the idea that new media is inherently trivial and using it requires you to talk like a 12-year-old girl, that idea was reinforced.)

    — News organizations will stop seeing themselves as “old media” or “new media” companies, and instead will start seeing themselves as “information providers,” with the medium of choice becoming almost a secondary concern. When launching new projects, these organizations will not automatically default to print, or the Web, or anything else, but instead will start by saying “What do we want to accomplish with the project, and how can we best use the various media at our disposal to make it happen?”


  2. Respectfully disagree on a few your points. Flixwagon, Qik, Livecastr are still having device and carrier issues. I tried Qik and Flixwagon on a number of devices with a number of Canadian carriers – very buggy. When I did it get to work it sucked my battery dry. Don’t get me wrong love the applications and I am cheering them on.

    Unless the economy pick up, alternative online business models won’t flourish. Advertising (online or offline) are still the bulk of revenue for media – advertisers are cutting back. Plus, advertisers are still very conservative and suspicious of social media platforms. Most advertisers I have dealt with care about Page Views and Unique visitors and that is it. Advertising revenue is far too discreet and incremental unless you are a small shop, generating massive page views and visitors

    Having said that, I would rather be wrong.


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