We live in a ‘post-truth’ era, or at least according to Oxford Dictionaries which named it ‘word of the year’ in its annual poll.
For over a decade, digital publishers have been wrestling with an existential strategic question: Should we pursue consumer or advertising revenue as our primary revenue stream? In 2017, that question, and the tradeoff it implies, will become obsolete by the widespread adoption of machine-learning, predictive, and anticipatory analytics. In creating a dynamic meter among publishers, their readers, and their advertisers, these algorithms have the potential to transform how the publishing industry generates revenue.
A prediction is always a commentary on the current situation in disguise, but this year, our disguise won’t fool anyone. So bear with us as we pretend to say something about the future that is pretty much about the present, and, even worse, as we try to find some answers in the past.
Skills in social media verification will become a priority for newsroom hires in 2017.
Two years ago, for a research project I was working on, I talked to journalists about the ways user-generated content was handled in their newsrooms. During one interview, an editor actually recreated the groan that went around the news meetings whenever she brought up the “v-word.” She was talking about verification. As we stumble towards the end of 2016, with everyone obsessing over misinformation, I don’t think you’d find any newsroom referring to verification in this way. I would hope not, anyway.