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Trends in Newsrooms 2016: step up to the next level of journalism

Independent journalism – based on analysis, opinion, the disclosure of facts gathered accurately and uncovering situations that insist on remaining hidden – has certainly changed the world for the better. Now, however, to keep fulfilling our mission, we need to use these solid foundations, carved out by generations of editors, to catapult journalism into a new cycle of public recognition of its relevance, writes President of the World Editors Forum, Marcelo Rech, to mark the release of our 2016 Trends in Newsrooms report.

by Nick Tjaardstra nick.tjaardstra@wan-ifra.org | June 20, 2016

Much of this new cycle, or “next-level journalism”, is scrutinised in the 2016 edition of Trends in Newsrooms. Although we, the professional editors, no longer have the hegemony in the production and distribution of content, the future is curiously backed by a concept that lies at the genesis of journalism, and that is now more necessary than ever: the search for truth.

Rebirth of trust as key fundamental

Let us look forward. Establishing and keeping relationships with the public will increasingly be the essence of media, but there will be stability in this unwritten agreement only if it is based on trust. This sentiment can be translated by the obsession to practice something as simple as exposing facts ascertained accurately and without bias. The task often involves facing threats to the freedom of the press, or confronting previous versions circulating on social networks, generally at the request of lobbies, PR agencies, political interests or activist groups.

Journalism, transformed into “professional certification of content”, takes advantage of technology to multiply itself indefinitely for all current and still-to-be-conceived platforms. But in order to expand our activity, we need to break with outdated and inefficient newsroom formats, and to improve the production of content with the attractiveness and reliability provided by independent professional editors. This is the only way we can be contemporary enough and essential to future generations.

Towards a fairer society

On an increasing scale, newsrooms are becoming agnostic regarding media platforms. We are using social media more and more to amplify our job and to identify issues that deserve a professional approach. As can be seen from the trends exposed in the Trends in Newsrooms report, the path of our editorial efforts will include designing newsrooms to quickly adopt new forms of storytelling and present them fast and creatively, without ever losing sight of the human dimension of the first-hand account that thrills and positively transforms society.

While enhancing our role as intermediaries between the facts and the public, we should also seek to be relationship managers, employing our expertise, our diversity of views and experience and, above all else, our professional independence to mediate conversations and contribute to a fairer society based on reliable information. This is what this new world is all about, synthesised in the trends carefully compiled by the World Editors Forum.

Download your copy of the 2016 Trends In Newsrooms report.