Predictions are great, and around this time of year there are a lot flying about, but you don’t want to just wait to see if they come true - you want to keep up to date on their progress.
So, with that in mind, at Bibblio we’ve prepared a list of the best people and publications to be following if you want to understand where digital media, news and publishing are heading in 2018.
Full disclosure - we're not that keen on the direction of travel in digital media in the last few years. The Facebook/Google duopoly are increasingly gatekeepers to a dysfunctional ad market, and the perverse incentives of needing to grab attention at all costs are harming organisations and consumers.
People are waking up to this and things are changing, but we still need to find a way for digital media and publishing to really grow in a sustainable way that puts users first. If you read everyone on this list this year, you'll be one step closer to knowing how to do that. So, without further ado...
Lucia Moses, the senior editor at Digiday, is a great commentator on the changing publishing media landscape. She tells hard truths about the reality of the business, e.g. on the struggle to diversify revenue channels, which was the subject of one of her most impactful pieces last year - The Pivot to Reality for Digital Media. Other great pieces she’s written cover the so-called ‘pivot to video’ and who the casualties of 2018 are going to be.
Jack Marshall was also a writer at Digiday before a stint at The Wall Street Journal, covering marketing and media, but he’s now back at DigiDay in 2018. He's leading Digiday+, their membership program offering premium content, original research and events. This seems particularly appropriate as Jack has has been a great voice on publishers struggles with ad-driven models and their attempts to move beyond them. Hopefully we’ll continue to hear from Jack in 2018 on the progress to more sustainable, customer-focussed strategies.
You can find him on Twitter as @JackMarshall.
Craig Silverman is the Media Editor at BuzzFeed News. He covers platforms, misinformation and fake news, and calls out bullshit in the world of digital publishing with refreshing candor. One of the problems of the ad-driven monetization model is the sheer level of fraud and opacity - Craig is going to make sure people know about that. Craig is a friend of everyone who wants the internet to work for consumers and fulfill its democratizing, decentralized potential. Go Craig.
Nic Newman is an ex-BBC journalist and strategist who’s now a research associate at Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University, famous for its annual Digital News Report. He’s a serious investigator of future trends, whether the public’s willingness to pay for online news or our trust in digital media. If you want to dig deep into what's really going on, Nic's your man.
John Harris is a journalist and author who writes for the Guardian. His regular beat is politics, popular culture and music, but of late he’s increasingly been focusing on the disruptions that digital media platforms like Facebook seem to be causing in our societies. He’s not a conventional publishing insider, so it's worth following him to see how concerns about modern media are translating into the mainstream press.
For those of us interested in the nerdier side of things, Jason Alcorn is a great resource. A media consultant who helps newsrooms, foundations and nonprofits, he's the Metrics Editor for MediaShift. Jason gets to the real stories behind the noise of headlines and buzzwords about publishing trends.
As well as highlighting individuals, we want to highlight some publications that anybody wanting to understand digital publishing should be paying attention to. As well as those we've mentioned above, you should add the following to your favorites:
GEN is a great Medium publication, all about the publishing business with a particular focus on technology. Their subject header bar gives you a flavor of what they’re about: innovation, platforms, fake news, virtual reality and AI. Get a taste with this piece on how publishing and blockchain could help newsrooms, featuring Bibblio’s Mads Holmen.
Monday Note is the brainchild of Frédéric Filloux and Jean-Louis Gassée. Another Medium blog focussed on news media and tech, it has more coverage of general tech news than GEN. Frédéric Filloux’s work with the News Quality Scoring Project particularly stands out for those of us interested in how we distinguish between high and low quality content on the web.
Nieman Lab is part of the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University, and it’s a project to try to help figure out where the news is headed in the internet age. Covering all aspects of the future of news and journalism, it’s a great place for reading about everything from Facebook to podcasting.
The Splice Newsroom is a great service reporting on the transformation of media and journalism with an Asian perspective. Their aim is to create a ‘Nieman Lab’ for Asia, to report and document the region’s best practices in newsrooms, talent, training, and media entrepreneurship. They have a weekly newsletter that contains interesting original content with a unique perspective.
So there you have it: 10 great sources of insight into media and publishing. If you can keep up to date with all of them, then you'll be one step ahead of the "predictions for 2019..." lists next year, or maybe you can write your own... Have a great year.