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Tech Trends + Journalism

ONLINE NEWS ASSOCIATION

October 14, 2020


13th annual tech trends talk!
WHAT I DO
Journalist + Strategist. Product team at Hearst Newspapers.

BACKGROUND
Newdsay + Columbia Journalism School +
NYU School of Business
WHY I M HERE
Believe that journalists need to talk about foresight and
strategy to guarantee a future for local media
Met
The Future Today Institute’s Seven-Step Forecasting Funnel The

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Analyzing

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Analysis and research, not predictions th

© 2020 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE


Looking for signals and trends
emerging from the fringe
2020 has been . . .
2020 has been 🤮 😡 😱
2020 has been
full of uncertainty
COVID

Scott Strazzante / San Francisco Chronicle


Black Lives
Matter
movement

Santiago Mejia / San Francisco Chronicle


Climate change

Santiago Mejia / San Francisco Chronicle


Future of journalism is
being written now
RECEIVING CREATING PAYING FOR
MEDIA MEDIA MEDIA
FINDING

Wearable devices will filter our


perception of the world
Gesture Smart Spatial
Recognition Cameras Awareness

Augmented Virtual
Reality Reality

Sensory Wearable Offline Data


Integration Devices Processing
This is just the
beginning
. . . capability to enhance one's
interaction in his environment with
feedback and other advanced
functionality based on the analysis
of captured image data.
̶ OrCam patent filings
What information is
relevant for a
heads up display?
Are we willing to accept
someone else s answer?
Imagine a pair of glasses
that add a 3D layer of useful,
contextually-relevant, and
meaningful information on
top of the physical world.
Everything we know about user
interaction is going to change
Are we ready for
sensory-first storytelling?
SENSORY
JOURNALISM
Instead of optimizing for a device, we re optimizing for our bodies
This is a seismic shift
for storytellers
How do we identify sensory
clickbait and avoid it?
What new skills do we
need in our newsrooms?
We also have to hold tech
companies accountable
Will sensory integration work
equally well for everyone?
For people of all genders?

People of color?

People with disabilities?


RECEIVING CREATING PAYING FOR
MEDIA MEDIA MEDIA
FINDING

There is a growing ecosystem


of synthetic media
Synthetic media isn t just
deep fakes
If you follow
fashion, you
may have seen
synthetic media
If you use Google
Duo, you might
have heard
synthetic media
The WaveNetEQ model is fast
enough to run on a phone, while
still providing state-of-the-art audio
quality and more natural sounding
PLC than other systems currently in
use.
There s a growing category
of experiences that aren t
real or fake
Reuters virtual news anchor
Reuters virtual news anchor
Real news

Real person s face

Real sports
But it s not real
Re-recording podcasts

Video rough cuts

One-to-one conversation
How do we define real ?
Generated ?

Manipulated ?

Fake ?
We need more
precise language
How can we help people tell
good synthetic media
from bad ?
What new businesses will
synthetic media create?
RECEIVING CREATING PAYING FOR
MEDIA MEDIA MEDIA
FINDING

New forms of content won t


be free
There is competition for our
audiences time and money
What will our audience be
willing to pay for in the
future?
77% of Fortnite
players have
spent money in
game
Average spend of $100
Fortnite entices users to
spend money
Can we say the same thing
about our products?
COVID boosted subscription
numbers at many publishers
Good news can make us
blind to contradictory signals
Consumer spending on Other
Services is down 17% since March
So what should we do?
Confront the uncertainty
How can we compete for
time and attention?
Are our products worth
paying for?
What are we doing to
fund journalism?
The future isn t predestined
We have choices to make
Scenarios
It's the year 2032 . . .
Three presidential elections
from now
More people are tuning into
the news
Wearable devices have
freed us from our screens
Two types of scenarios
CATASTROPHIC SCENARIO

If we make all the wrong


choices . . .
Tech companies defined the
rules of engagement
News distribution is
governed by device makers
Audiences can t tell
what s fake or real
Local news organizations
are overwhelmed
Campaign ads freely mix
synthetic media and real footage
Most newsrooms have teams
dedicated to detecting deepfakes
But they are
under-resourced
Revenue peaks because of
election, but collapses after
It doesn t need to be this way
OPTIMISTIC SCENARIO

If we make the right choices. . .


News organizations engaged
with emerging technologies
We anticipated how wearable
devices would change behavior
Synthetic media is
ubiquitous
We ve taught audiences to discern
when they re being manipulated
Newsrooms are growing
The business is healthy
This future is possible
So how do we get there?
Look for external
drivers of change
RECEIVING CREATING PAYING FOR
MEDIA MEDIA MEDIA
It s not enough to just
observe what s happening
Acknowledge uncertainty
in your work
Start conversations
in your newsrooms!
If you don t build the future,
it will be built for you
You can shape the future of
journalism
Next year!
Paula Rogo
Questions
THANK YOU!