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This year, we asked 12 industry experts and commentators to share their predictions for digital journalism in 2022. In this article, we round up the insights from seven of them and you can read more 2022 predictions here.

Our experts are CEOs, directors and editors-in-chief who led their organisations through the pandemic while innovating and empowering their teams. Their insights span the areas of audience engagement, climate, multimedia, newsletters, newsroom trends and tech. The topics are listed in alphabetical order.

Audience engagement

Alex Wood, managing director, Europe, Forbes

In 2022, there will be more international expansion from the world’s trusted media brands.

The technology has been proven, international newsrooms can be run remotely without the need to be clustered in big cities from Monday to Friday. Smart publishers will seek out opportunities in new markets, attracting new audiences and playing a bigger role in the global conversation.

There will also be great efforts to build more diversity into our media, reflecting the changing world we live in.

Edward Roussel, head of digital, The Times and The Sunday Times

With audiences stuck at home behind screens, media companies will experiment with more ways to engage consumers beyond serving news. This may include a variety of community-focused activities, ranging from games leaderboards to enhanced subscriber-only commenting and digital events with major journalists or celebrities. 


Meera Selva, deputy director, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

Every newsroom will either create a climate reporting hub or wonder how to address the topic. The process will throw up even more generational differences between reporters, with younger ones calling for clear action while older ones argue for what they would call more impartial reporting. Some of the best, most innovative journalism will come from small, digital-native outlets in parts of the world hit hardest by climate change. The big challenge will be to make sure their reporting is financially viable and has a global impact.

We will see more women and more people of colour taking key management and newsroom roles but it remains to be seen if this will result in a shift in substance and perspectives in the news itself.

Journalists want to stop being hypocrites

Erika Owens, co-executive director, OpenNews

Over the last year and a half, many newsrooms have made pledges to improve the diversity, equity, and inclusion of their newsrooms or apologised for past wrongs. I am already hearing from many journalists that they are tired of being told to wait to see results from those pledges.

I expect that in 2022, journalists in the US and beyond will exert more pressure on their newsrooms to actually fulfil those pledges. I also see more and more that journalists are exerting pressure not only at an individual level but collectively, whether that be through unionisation efforts with contracts that include DEI clauses or organising DEI groups across newsrooms.

Too often, both change-making and the consequences of our current inequitable system are borne by individual journalists alone. Journalists from marginalised backgrounds often have to contend with racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, or transphobic harassment or harm while just doing their jobs. Their work also involves a tremendous amount of informal labour, such as efforts to help implement more inclusive policies or identifying problematic issues in reporting that could easily be prevented if all perspectives in the newsroom were equally valued by default.

In collectively pressuring for meaningful structural changes, journalists will transform this status quo, shifting these burdens from individual journalists and transforming news organisations to places that protect and support all journalists. These changes will strengthen the journalism produced as well, and, as OpenNews co-executive director Sisi Wei put it "will help journalists stop being hypocrites."

Multimedia content

Edward Roussel, head of digital, The Times and The Sunday Times

For consumers under 25, media websites are as irrelevant as newspapers. Instead, the chances are they get their media from one of three social-video apps: TikTok, YouTube or Instagram Stories. Media companies have been slow to adapt, seeing those social networks as entertainment channels rather than primary sources of information.

We will also see more of audio-plus-video. YouTube is hiring podcast editors, moving from video to video-plus-audio, whereas Spotify is moving in the opposite direction, urging its podcast creators to also shoot video. Expect more media companies to commission stories that are a hybrid of podcasts with video - a new genre of episodic content where audiences can choose between listening and viewing.


Katherine Bell, editor-in-chief, Quartz

The media has traditionally been very bad at interpreting uncertainty for readers and making it easy for them to update their understanding of a situation as new information emerges. During the pandemic, some publications have found ways to get better at that, and I hope that trend continues.

I also really like the trend of talent teams embedded in newsrooms to help with recruiting, inclusion, and learning and development; I think we will see more of that. And I am curious to see what will happen to all the independent email newsletters that launched in 2021. The inevitable re-bundling has already begun.

Edward Roussel, head of digital, The Times and The Sunday Times

Buoyed by the success of Substack, major newsrooms are re-examining their newsletters strategies. Newsletters, at one point, seemed to be heading the same way as blogs - a form of online blather that (thankfully) disappeared without a trace in most newsrooms about a decade ago. Substack taught newsrooms what newsletters should be all about a personal connection between a rockstar writer and his/her audience. Something akin to a short, daily call with your smartest friend.


Charlie Beckett, director, Polis, LSE

Human journalism will become more, not less important in 2022.

Robots, automation, personalisation, data investigations and much more will continue to allow news organisations to become more efficient, better connected to audiences and smarter about newsgathering and content creation. But here is the paradox. The more that the machines or algorithms augment our journalism, the more that added value will come from the human element.

The pressures of digital change, social media expansion and competition for attention mean mainstream newsrooms and journalists are also revamping their formats and story-telling.

You cannot get a machine to do what talented journalists, like TikTok influencer Sophia Smith Galer or BBC’s Ros Atkins, are doing. But they would not have the impact they do without the power of algorithms and the connectivity of networks. Sensible newsrooms are going to spend the next few years continuing to catch up with technological change and the new behaviour and needs of digital audiences.

Gary Liu, CEO, South China Morning Post

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will become an integral part of advancing the news business, in and around the newsroom. For example, AI can be used to address things like topic tagging, content recommendations, personalising user experiences and moderating comments. Data and machine learning can provide prescriptive analytics to develop strategies and drive successful business planning decisions.

Blockchain technology is disrupting industries, including the media landscape. Blockchain technology can meaningfully elevate the news industry and the way journalism can serve readers and the community. For example, blockchain’s shared ledger system can foster trust, transparency, efficiency, speed, and security. It enables greater transparency of the source and production of media content and this is crucial for readers to rebuild trust in the reputability of legitimate news sources.

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