Five predictions for media and journalism in 2022
By Chris Waiting
Editor and Publisher
SHOPTALK / COMMENTARY
Five predictions for media and journalism in 2022 . . . . . . . . . It’s been a tough year for media and journalism — from a rise in layoffs and increasing scrutiny around misinformation to trust in media still recovering from an all-time low. While it was encouraging to see a slight increase in trust, as reported by the Reuters Institute 2021 Digital News Report, media outlets still only have a limited timeframe to address ongoing issues around biased reporting and stories not based on facts. Otherwise, we have little hope of regaining the public’s trust. So, as the media and journalism industry continue the struggle for trust and influence, here are my top five predictions for 2022. 1 Data and research will be critical for news reporting With misinformation spreading like wildfire across social media and media channels and trust in journalism still low, more news reporting will be grounded in data and research from renowned research institutes and universities. If a story is backed up by hard facts from a credible and respected source, people are less likely to question its integrity. 2 There will be a greater focus on experts, particularly academics According to a recent study, $2.6 billion per year is spent by big brands advertising on websites that carry misinformation on various topics, from anti-vaccine, climate change and more. To cut through the misinformation deluge, people want advice and reassurance from leading experts they trust. Academics will play an important role as media spokespeople, delivering unbiased commentary supported by research. With 67% of people trusting academics for information on critical topics like climate change, according to research by The Conversation in collaboration with the University of Cambridge, journalists will increasingly look to them for input and comment on their stories. 3 Trust in journalism will slowly increase Controversial opinions are out, and impartial reporting is now more important than ever. As academics play a vital role as media spokespeople, delivering unbiased commentary focused on fact-based analysis, their partnerships with journalists will help drive up trust in journalism. This will be critical to counter inflammatory partisan propaganda from anti-woke news outlets like GB News. 4 Nearly all areas of journalism will focus on climate change As media reporting on climate change intensifies following COP26 and the climate emergency continues to permeate all aspects of our lives, nearly every journalist will become a climate change journalist to some degree. Business will cover the economic impact of climate change, technology will cover different sustainable innovations designed to mitigate climate change and science will cover the impact on the planet from a scientific viewpoint. Climate change will even touch sport, where intense heat, air pollution or hurricanes disrupt important matches. To help journalists learn how to develop their coverage of climate change by identifying and addressing the range of operational, cultural and ethical issues, visiting fellow Wolfgang Blau, together with the Reuters Institute, set up The Oxford Climate Journalist Network, a new program at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford. 5 Podcasting will continue to grow Podcast audiences have been growing steadily since the pandemic. Next year their popularity will increase further as people opt to listen to stories and commentary while multitasking with other activities. Overall forecasts predict a rise to 20 million listeners by 2024. As a result, podcasting advertising revenue will grow as brands capitalize on this growth and look to engage with specific audiences.