Our 5 top takeaways from ICFJ's 2023 media predictions
Impress recently attended the International Center for Journalists' Fate of Journalism 2023 webinar, taking a closer look at Nic Newman's industry predictions for the coming year.
The session covered social media trends and the rise of artificial intelligence, as well as the opportunities and threats these changes could pose for journalists and publishers around the world.
Here are our five key takeaways from the webinar:
1. Social media dilemmas
A large focus of the report and this latest webinar was on social media. Newman spoke of Facebook focusing less and less on news, with TikTok set to overtake the platform for popularity among under-25s in the coming years. How publishers operate on the platform may well transform in 2023 depending on changes made by Meta over the next 12 months.
Similarly, the Twitter question remains a hot topic. Following Elon Musk's takeover of the platform, there was a feeling of unease among many journalists about remaining active and plenty of talk of leaving altogether. However, Newman's research showed that many journalists would consider it damaging to the profession if the site were to close down.
The wheels of technology never stop moving and publishers are constantly looking for new ways to get their content to their audiences. Newman highlighted audio formats, newsletters and digital video as three areas that are set for big investment by news producers in 2023.
One example of note comes from the New York Times, who are investing heavily in a new audio app that will see articles narrated in a style similar to podcasts for their audience, with advanced levels of production set to be involved.
3. The benefits of AI
Artificial intelligence has the potential to dominate the narrative for the next 12 months. Advancements in the technology have left many wowed, with programmes capable of producing grammatically flawless sections of text on a plethora of topics in seconds.
AI, according to Newman, also has the potential to streamline processes such as sub-editing and create fascinating and original images to be used as eye-catching featured images or magazine covers, something already employed by the likes of Reuters and The Economist.
4. The threats of AI
But the potential damage AI could cause the journalistic world is also significant. Newman pointed to deepfakes as a potential cause for a serious increase in the spread of mis/disinformation. Meanwhile, there remains plenty of confusion and debate around the copyright implications of using AI generated content, given, in most cases, it has not been created by the publisher.
If news outlets are to employ the technology, there are plenty of risks and potential legal issues for them to consider.
5. A potential solution
All hope is not lost, however. Even with the rise of AI, Newman beleives that traditional, human generated news can still retain its value - it may just take a bit of adapting.
For example, Newman suggests that showing the public the work that goes into a story and the processes behind news production could well add appeal to the end product. This ties in with a finding from Impress' News Literacy Report, which that found the British public feel they do not currently know enough about how the news they consume created in the first place.
So, 2023 looks set to be another crucial year in the world of journalism and media, with changes likely to be both frequent and seismic in their effects on publishers around the world. How well industry players adapt to those shifts, particularly regarding technology, will likely prove to be key.