The impact of social media and broadcast news sites on the way news is reported is undeniable. The style in which news articles are written and the mediums through which these stories are shared have drastically changed in the last 15 years. But likewise, the platforms showcasing news stories have also continued to evolve, keeping up with the needs and wants of the reader. So, what does the future of the news industry look like will it be online like other publications such as


For the first time ever, more people used messaging apps than social media in 2015. Since that initial month, messaging apps have continued to reign supreme over social networks, pulling in more and more users every month.

For platforms like Facebook, which has more users reading the news on its site than any other social network, this isn’t bad news. That’s because Facebook also happens to have its very own integrated messaging system, which is highly popular. It also owns WhatsApp. These two messaging platforms pull in 800 million and 900 million users respectively. With Facebook leading the way when it comes to news stories, perhaps the future involves taking these stories to their messaging apps. Users could set their notification preferences based on the type of news story, be it urgent, international, celebrity gossip etc.

Audio News

In the past few years, publishers have invested heavily in their video content. But with the likes of Amazon Echo and Google Home finding their way into people’s houses, is this due to change and the focus shift to audio news?

Some companies have already begun experimenting with audio news stories, with the liked of The New York Times creating multiple podcast series. This includes their series named The Daily, which provides listeners with a 25-minute update on current news. A new episode is released five days a week.   

There has also been a boom in audio investment when it comes to automobiles. It is estimated that 20% of vehicles in the US are currently connected to the internet, though the goal is for this to be 100% by the year 2025. Content creators have felt the benefits of the increase in internet access, with Pandora’s VP of Business Development stating that “Automotive is our fastest-growing listening category.” With Pandora known for its personalised content, is this a precursor for the future of news reporting? Will we soon be listening to our own personalised version of the news?

Further Personalisation

Anonymity is a thing of the past when it comes to the internet. While people may refer to trolls ‘hiding behind their keyboards’, websites are collecting huge amounts of data on users. Creating accounts on websites gives information such as your birthdate, ordering packages passes along your home and/or work address. Your subscription to Birchbox gives an insight into your consumer choices, and your frequent visits to highlight your sense of humour. All of this data is collected online and used to create tailored suggestions for content you’d enjoy. Facebook in particular enjoy using the information from your likes and links to get to know you better, and will continue to provide what it deems the most useful news stories for each person. The need for add-on tools like Feedly and Flipboard suggest there’s still some way to go with perfect this personalisation.

What else will change?

Just as social media decided to get in on the action, it is likely that other companies will adapt to the growing trend of finding news online. Companies not previously associated with the traditional news publications will begin branching out into the news industry. There are two reasons that this is likely. Firstly, companies will try to keep readers on their website. This will help them improve their user stats, find out more about user demographics, increase the price for advertisers with banners on their site, grow the company’s reputation. The list goes on. The second reason that sites will begin offering their own news section is to keep the readers happy. That’s because leading readers away to a different site requires additional seconds for the content to load. According to Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook “People don’t want to wait that long so a lot of people abandon news before it has even loaded.” No wonder Facebook’s news summaries can be seen on everyone’s main feed.

This overlap may also happen in the other direction, with traditional news publishers branching out to increase revenue. This could be a necessary step for news companies. Indeed 60% of publishers believe that monetization will be their biggest challenge, thanks to the increased use of ad blockers, low ad rates on mobiles and high levels of competition. There are a number of ways companies can evolve to increase revenue, such as:

  • Becoming event organisers. Many publishers have run their own events, such as Stylist Live and Forbes’ Summit Conferences.
  • Launching their own creative agencies. These are created to produce branded content. Examples of this include the Huffpost Partner Studio and Vice’s Virtue team.
  • Opening research institutes. These teams conduct high-level research, which supports the news generated by the publisher. The Economist’s version is known as the Intelligence Unit.
  • Creating teams to build and analyse user data. At Buzzfeed, the team is building technology that can detect web trends and connects users with content they’re most likely to enjoy.

While there’s inevitable change coming to the news publication industry, some things are expected to remain the same thanks to the high-standards set by traditional publishers. While people want content to be available quickly and news broadcasts streamed in real-time, digital publishers continue to pursue the credibility of traditional publishers, raising the bar in journalism. There has been a steady decline in journalism jobs over the past many decades, but a regrowth of the industry to cope with the changes could be a very real future. Only time will tell.


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