2023 calendar
Credit: Behnam Norouzi on Unsplash

Whether it is a question of trust, interest or willingness to buy, how audiences will interact with digital news next year and beyond is key to your newsroom's success.

As we bring 2022 to a close, we asked three experts for their predictions for journalism in 2023 with audiences in mind.

Other articles in this series:

Audience trust and news avoidance: Mary Walter-Brown, founder and CEO of News Revenue Hub

As the "selective news avoidance" phenomenon spreads, and news audiences turn away, shrink and become more homogenised, newsrooms will have to make real investments in listening and responding to their communities’ information needs and preferences. 

To stay relevant, news organisations must be willing to abandon old habits and assumptions, including the idea that news consumers will seek them out, read whatever they publish, accept it as truth and wait for the next installment. 

Next generation newsrooms know that simply producing content is not enough; we now have to understand the psychology and sociology behind what issues to cover, and the most effective way to distribute that news and information back into communities so it reaches and resonates with the people who need it. 

Newsrooms need clear metrics that help them make a major (not micro) difference. These metrics centre around important digital news data points like audience loyalty, reader contributions, and email conversion, but should also include grassroots community engagement, representation and, most importantly, community satisfaction, i.e. how well are we doing our jobs?

Journalism producers need new skills, beyond just reporting, to truly understand and serve their constituents. If newsrooms are not willing to adapt and invest in their communities; it is not fair to expect communities to invest in them.

Read more from 2022:

Audience expectations on TikTok: Sophia Smith Galer, senior news reporter, Vice News and journo-influencer (450k TikTok followers)

My prediction is that news creators will have to increase their production value when making vertical video.

This may not be explicitly visual – it may be that creators are finding that they are having to research and script for longer, as opposed to dramatically change how their TikToks look. But I can see a world where we all have to start using a lot more visual devices to maintain audience interest for the longer viewing times that platforms like TikTok are now encouraging us to create and engage for. 

An increase in expectation of production value means content takes longer to create, and is more expensive to create, demanding more skill and patience. One of the beauties of the app in the beginning was that it was not always like this. That is how people like me could squeeze it around a full-time job and social life. News creators will now need the resources and training to meet that challenge.

Read more from 2022:

Audience willingness to pay: Kellie Riordan, founder of Deadset Studios, founding editor of ABC Audio studios

2023 will bring about the great unsubscribe. News consumers are overloaded, often overwhelmed by the volume of content they consume and are fed. This will mean audiences are starting to more actively curate the content they want, and with that the great unsubscribe.

Whether it is reducing the number of streaming platforms they pay for, or limiting the number of email newsletters they consume, or culling the number of podcasts they follow, in the age of information overload audiences will now be pickier with what they consume (even if it is free content).

Niche content will grow. New consumers will look for content that is tailored to their needs, desires, and wants. Whether it is a deep-dive sports newsletter, or a podcast about climate action, audiences will want trusted, quality niche content that feels made for them.

Read more from 2022:

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