The news media is experiencing a renaissance. As we end the year, its state in 2009 can be summarized as a year of turmoil, layoffs and cutbacks in an industry desperately seeking to reinvent its business model and content. But despite the thousands of journalism jobs lost, the future has much hope and opportunity for those that are willing to adapt to a changing industry.
Much of that change is happening now. And in the coming year, news organizations will look to approach monetization and content experimentation that is focused on looking at the web in a new way. News in 2010 will blur the lines between audience and creator more than ever before in the social media era.
Below are my chosen trends that Cloud9 believes will change the way content is distributed and presented
1. Living Stories
One of the difficulties of the web is being able to really track a story as it develops and creating engaging formats for long-form articles. The article page is often the only thing that a reader sees and not the story in its full context. In 2010, news organizations will design stories that are more suited to the way readers consume online content.
One early sign of this is the recent collaboration between Google, The New York Times, and The Washington Post on the Living Stories project, an experiment that presents coverage of a specific story or topic in one place, making it easy to navigate the topic and see the timeline of coverage on the story. It also allows you to get a summary of the story and track the conversations taking place. This format contextualizes and personalizes the news.
2. Real time News
Our news consumption has morphed into a collection of streams. Whether it’s from our Twitter homepage or an RSS reader or a Facebook feed, we get bites of information that sometimes satisfy us or direct us to places where we can get more information.
That change may not come in 2010, but streaming news elements will become a an integral part of traditional news sources. We’re already seeing Twitter streams and other visualizations incorporated into news home pages with updated financial and market information from new sources like Google Finance.
Another format that takes effort, but can be an engaging alternative to the traditional blog post is theblogozine. This could be great to keep a reader engaged in a long-form story. Though I don’t think we will see the death of simple blog posts, a rich-media and rich-layout approach from blogozines will gain momentum in 2010.
4. Distributed Social News
This year the social news trend gained momentum with the explosion of Twitter. Moving into 2010, news organizations will further distribute their content across social platforms that allow its users to create a personalized and socialized news stream. Personalized search has emerged in 2009, and 2010 will see more sites integrating applications that allow users to create personalized news streams.
More news organizations are beginning to establish a presence across multiple platforms and social sites, and it’s not just the popular sites like Twitter and Facebook anymore. Newsweek, for example, started a Tumblog because the “format is adapted especially well to magazine journalism, since it encourages a deeper engagement.”
Robert Quigley, social media editor at the Austin American-Statesman, said he thinks news sites will continue to exist for a while, but the “smart news sites will extend their tentacles into the spaces where people are communicating, and talking about news.”
5. News on Mobile
In general, 2010 will see a distinct transformation in the way people consume news as smart phones become ubiquitous. And as more startups enter the market of mobile transactions, news organizations could develop strategies or provide services for transactions to take place on mobile apps.
News companies should be prepared with a mobile-first strategy. Instead of just selling ads to business customers, news organizations can help small businesses develop applications that help them do business in the mobile marketplace, said Steve Buttry, C3 coach at Gazette Communications.
Mathew Ingram, communities editor at The Globe and Mail, said mobile also has great potential to increase the number of content consumers, especially if it is done in a geo-targeted way to reach a local audience. Something that news organizations should also be prepared for is e-readers gaining a larger market and the emergence of the Apple Tablet, which publishers like Wired Magazine arealready getting ready for. Meanwhile, Time Inc. and other magazine publishers are looking to create aHulu for magazines where consumers can purchase and manage digital subscriptions.
6. Geo Location Year
Geo-location services will be the buzz of 2010, though it’s difficult to predict which services will rise to the top. Geo-tweets could take this space, but companies like Foursquare and Gowalla, which combine geo-location with social gaming, are highly addictive and have a lot of potential, especially with an advertising format that serves its users.
Also, imagine the opportunity for news companies to work with advertisers to make ads more relevant to location.
2010 will be a year when the news creator and the audience will be one! This will also be a year where PR agencies and corporates will need to learn the new rules of the game.