Newsrooms, social scientists, public health professionals and librarians unite ”Nieman Journalism Lab


Working outside of newsrooms for the past three years – alongside social scientists, public health professionals, and library professionals – has been instrumental in how I think about the future of information. There are many ways for these groups to work together to help little-d democracy in 2022, and I hope they will. Here are some thoughts based on my time with demographers, population researchers, computer scientists and digital archivists:

  • We’ll see more new local for-profit and non-profit news organizations launching into existing information deserts – and some of these will have strong ties to PACs and / or political groups. (We’ve already seen this happen in Stockton and Chapel Hill and 12 other states, as reported by Yowei Shaw, Tammy Grubb, and Priyanjana Bengani, respectively.) In many cases, these newsrooms will appear in places with little , if all local media watchdogs – and where thousands of new residents are moving in without any existing media habits. This will be interesting to watch in light of the Local Journalism Sustainability Act.
  • We will increasingly see newsrooms and audio organizations partnering with digital archivists and librarians to record content that may be relevant in the future and to understand how to integrate web and multimedia archiving into existing workflows. Preserve This Podcast’s work in this area is aimed at independent podcasters; my own MLIS Saving Political Sites project archived 25,000 websites of local candidates from the 2021 election cycle, some of which have already disappeared from the web in the past month. There are also all kinds of ways to do it smart and on a large scale – and the best work in this area will take place entirely at the local level. (You know the “Friends of” groups that spring up in your area during an election cycle – others don’t.)
  • We’ll see more experimentation with paywalls, whether it’s looking at the overall behavior of readers, or the location of readers, or if someone is moving or standing still. We’ll see bundles happen more frequently – and we’ll see payment walls take up a bigger place in peer support networks, too.
  • More newsrooms and academic research centers will partner, and this will benefit both groups. We saw this going well in Wisconsin through a partnership between WisContext and the Applied Population Lab at the University of Wisconsin, and in Toronto between a reporter from the Toronto Star and a researcher from the University of Sheffield. . Dear Pandemic, researchers from various schools, could easily be syndicated or repackaged by newsrooms for a local context.
  • We’re going to start to see mastheads spreading across the country. It will be good, especially if we hire people who live there and not people who already work in a news agency and have moved to a new location.
  • The means will rotate.
  • Income sharing will become the norm among columnists. Could we see something similar for publishers and product managers?
  • Deborah Dwyer’s research into non-disclosure will become even more relevant as more mergers take place (and hedge funds are trying to suppress previous stories written about them).
  • Employees in newsrooms in the 28 “right to work” states (like North Carolina) will try to organize, and the results in those states can be very different.
  • We will see more and more news agencies releasing metadata to help prove the provenance of images, audio and video. The New York Times News Provenance Project and Stanford University’s Starling Lab will help fight disinformation by reducing uncertainty.
  • We will see more attacks on independent student media, especially on public institutions in the Red States. Louisiana State University journalism students now work for an office in the school’s communications office; his student newspaper ceased publication in 2019. A 2016 AAUP report describes a range of threats facing university media.
  • We will see more attacks on public institutions – libraries, universities, school boards, news organizations. They will be difficult to analyze and consider as connected. Will there be a Dear Pandemic that will kick in and focus on the collapse of democracy? How can social science researchers and journalists come together? (See n ° 4.)

Melody Kramer completing an MLIS degree and directing communications for a population research center at the University of North Carolina.


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