As we head into a hopeful 2021, here is a look at the key issues facing newsrooms and what needs to be done tackle them.
This is the mother of all of them. Every other problem leads back to this. Publishing models have not adapted well to the digital age and if new organizations want to be succesful and existing ones thrive they need an innovative approach to how they bring in revenue. Cutting cost wholesale is not always a great solution.
The Washington Post’s motto is “Democracy dies in darkness” and more and more of society is falling into the shadows. Investigative journalism takes up a lot of time and resources so there is less of it going on. It also builds trust and loyalty with audiences that pays off in the long run and is a key tool in holding people to account. Finding ways to get reporters in the field is the solution.
3. Local reporters/reports
This is the essence of journalism – zooming in to bring small-scale stories (that often have big implications) to a wide audience. It is rewarding for publishers, editors and communities but is harder than ever to do when reporters are chained to their desks. Remote court hearings are one example of how this can become easier but a journalist with a smartphone is the most powerful tool.
4. Comprehensive coverage
You cannot have one without the other. If you want to do the unique stories that bring in eyeballs and reputation you need the wider coverage that gives you legitimacy. This has gotten much harder to do. Reporters and editors are being asked to do more and more for less, just to stay in the game.
Article production and multimedia production are crucial to a reliable, trusted news source. Hardware and labor costs can take up a lot of budget but if done right are a gamechanger for any publisher.