Clifford Stoll’s 1995 predictions included “…no computer network will change the way government works.”
How about 5?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…)
Freakonomics co-branded Predictify thingie. Worth a look for news orgs with some scale – major metro like the Merc could run this with predictions about Silicon Valley start-ups in a fun way.