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What Will 2012 Bring for the Media?

Here are some of my thoughts on what will happen in the world of journalism this year as well as my wishes for what I think should happen. Overall, I think “news entrepreneurship” will enter the lexicon in major ways. Entrepreneurial ideas will be informed by a new sense of urgency over the impending loss of original journalism generated by both new and old news entities.

  • More entrepreneurial news sites will launch, be they community news sites or statewide and national watchdog sites.
  • Some news startups, however, will go out of business – victims of funder fatigue and failure to diversify revenue streams. The idea of serial entrepreneurship, so worshipped in Silicon Valley, will become a less-coveted reality in the news ecosystem as some startups doing original reporting are forced to shutter operations for lack of support.
  • Journalism schools will recalibrate their convergence curricula to embrace media entrepreneurship, working to train students to launch and sustain media ideas.
  • Social networking options will continue to provide robust outreach opportunities as well as listening posts for news creators.
  • Some less-enterprising regional newspapers will go out of business or go digital-only, having failed to create a product their audiences want to read or buy.
  • Information and opinion will be freely available.  Enterprise, explanatory and investigative journalism will be prized commodities.

Here are a few things I hope will happen:

  • Some enterprising news outlets, hammered by recurring downsizing, will abandon their anemic all-things-to-all-audiences approach and finally begin to design strategic portfolios of focused value-added coverage (six to eight topics) they can own – and that people might actually pay for – relinquishing the rest to aggregation or partnerships.
  • Smart collaboration and networking among media partners will be the new normal.  Check out some ways this can work in J-Lab’s new report on the Philadelphia Enterprise Reporting Awards.
  • Audience engagement will amp up. In some cases, we’ll see a return to face-to-face engagement. In other cases we’ll see some innovations for audience participation. These efforts will add to the drives for “open-source” and “transparency” and will better elicit enduring engagement with news consumers.

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