Media Predictions For 2019 Dominated By Fake News

A news boy dressed in vintage knickers, newsboy hat and fake long Pinocchio nose stands with a fake newspaper in the middle of a field in Utah, USA. He is trying to sell you fake news.
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Last year saw rising global concerns over misinformation and the poor handling of user privacy. Reuters predicts how the media will adapt in 2019.

Media outlets are set to move away from Facebook and other large platforms in 2019, after a year dominated by global concerns over misinformation and personal privacy, the Reuters Institute has predicted.

In the annual Digital News Report, senior research associate Nic Newman has issued a number of predictions for 2019 after extensive global surveys and interviews with leading media executives.

The report outlines many other predictions for the coming year, including an increased attention to subscription models, the growth of AI and blockchain technologies in newsrooms, a revaluing of audio formats, and continued decline of legacy print media.

The most significant factor for the 2019 global media landscape, he writes, is large platforms’ inability to deal successfully with the spread of misinformation and fake news, and growing concerns over the safety and security of personal data.

New responses to the ‘spread of misleading ideas’ are being considered by the largest platforms, including advanced technologies and increased human resources across Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and Twitter, as well as ‘nutrition label’-style markers of authentication for traditional news outlets.

In response, executives are set to prioritise subscription revenue above advertising, as large platforms’ capabilities to target will continue to outpace native and digital advertising.

However, as paywalls go up, the report predicts customers will become increasingly savvy in 2019 as paywall-evading technology becomes more prevalent, presenting a significant risk to the subscription model of revenue priority.

The next wave of technological advancements will begin to reshape traditional newsrooms in 2019, as AI and blockchain technologies become increasingly affordable and applicable.

However, Newman notes that AI is not at this stage likely to threaten job security in the news industry. In China, AI technology has begun to replace newsreaders, but customer resistance has led to a re-affirmation of the necessity of personalised news.

As traditional print journalism continues its long fall towards the bottom line, media in 2019 will continue to adapt to new methods of consumption and new technologies, according to the report.

A continued rise in the consumption of audio formats, especially podcasts, will lead to an increased reliance on podcasting, while technology develops to respond to the obvious issues of browsing and skipping.

Meanwhile, the report said the story format as introduced by Snapchat, and now prevalent across Instagram, Facebook and more, will become an increasingly relevant platform for news and digital storytelling.

In technology news, the report predicts that 5G and foldable screen technologies will headline commercial improvements for 2019, while 4K and 8K definition networks will provide sharper images for television and streaming consumers.

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