How journalists can get ahead of the game in 2011
One of the best reads ahead of the New Year was JWT’s Intelligence Report into the big trends of 2011. Analysts named 100 things which are likely to be of note in the 12 months ahead.
Unlike my predictions for 2011, they’re not written with journalists in mind – however, there are little nuggets of intelligence of use to the Next Generation Journalist.
You can read all 100 of the agency’s predictions after the break, but first I have picked out 12 key ones for multimedia content creators of all kinds to be aware of.
#02 Africa’s middle class
From South Africa to Ghana, the intelligence report says Africa’s growing middle class will be significant in 2011: “McKinsey predicts a 35% increase in African consumer spending power by 2015.”
Takeaway: This means countless stories that are ripe to be told. From the ambitious modernisation of Kigali, to broadband reaching the east coast; if foreign news is your bag, you’ll find plenty of ideas around this mega-story.
#19 Coming clean with green
There’s no hiding the fact 2010 was a pretty atrocious year for climate change. Protesters were jailed, Copenhagen was a washout, and the earth got more unpleasant reminders that things are changing than we care to remember. JWT’s intelligence predicts that consumer green will be big in 2011.
Takeaway: what information is there for consumers who want to go green? Not much, and the stuff that is, is wrapped in preachy-guilt hyperbole; I think there’s a gap in the market. If you’re interested in environmental reporting, this might be the year to make it happen.
#29 East London’s Tech City
JWT analysts predict development in East London in the run up to the Olympics. The UK’s startup community is coming to life, and it’s growing around the ‘silicon roundabout’ (or Old Street tube station, if you know the area).
Takeaway: This is the year to have confidence in British startups, and if you care to, to meet and join the innovative people and businesses making stuff happen there. For example, the TechHub has recently opened for business, a shared work space for startups right on the Silicon Roundabout.
#32 Entrepreneurial Journalism
Yes, great news for anyone starting their own news business in 2011, or anyone thinking about it. The report predicts “the next generation of journalists will apply more hybrid skills in entrepreneurial ways…[watch out for] more professionals with varied skill sets who help transform content for the digital age.”
I’m firmly in support of this one, and as well as launching my own business, studio .fu, I am also carrying out in-depth research into Entrepreneurial Journalism in my role at Kingston University this year.
Takeaway: if you’ve got an idea for a news business, this is the year to do it! Aim to be one the pioneers who transform content. If you’re still a student at a UK university, you can get a £1,000 leg-up with the myNewsBiz competition.
#47 Long form content
Yet another journalistically relevant prediction for the year ahead. JWT analysts reckon “the novelty of long-form content will stand out” with sites like LongReads and Longform.org will find an audience this year.
Takeaway: if you’re a fan of creating and consuming long-form content, this is the year to start creating it prolifically. Seek it out as much as you write it – share it, and build the eyeballs. The experts believe the desire to read it is there!
#52 Mobile blogging
Yep, forget all these long WordPress posts. Blogging on the move is going to be big this year. The report says “mo-blogging” is going to spike, with photo intense posts via Tumblr and Posterous.
Takeaway: Journalism is still looking for ways to exploit geo-located content; how can you as an individual or your newsroom use mo-bloggers to your advantage? Could you turn your reporters into mo-bloggers?
#59 Next Generation Documentarians
The report says “access to cheap video cameras and software is fuelling an expansion in video storytelling and stylistic experimentation from a new generation of film-makers”. Storytelling is a big thing these days – do you know the basics of how it’s done?
Takeaway: Even non-journalists are picking up a camera and telling great stories. Stop worrying about how you’ll get funding: start making stories now, as cheap as possible: your idea has more strength as a physical film than as a pitch on paper.
#63 Odyssey Trackers
Sticking with the ge0graphical theme, social media and GPS are combining, says the report, to allow “extreme explorers [to] broadcast their adventures in real time”. It cites EpicTracker, an app in development, as an example.
Takeaway: A clear opportunity if you’re a travel journalist or foreign correspondent. At the same time, it’s an example of great stories, great films and documentaries being taken from the open hands of journalists, by people who are prepared to get off their backside and make stuff happen. If you’re into travel journalism, this is a trend to exploit.
#75 Scanning everything
So augmented reality wasn’t quite the big thing I predicted last year but the analysts think QR-codes will have a part to play in 2011. They’re the square barcodes which send a device to a website or other location.
Takeaway: nice simple one here: create your own QR code here, and put it on your next pack of business cards, like I’ve done above.
#83 Storied products
“Consumers are increasingly looking for a personal connection to brands” the report says. Interesting for journalists in two ways: one- if you’re going entrepreneurial, get your story right (InnovativeInteractivity has some great advice on this here); two- story-telling is becoming more and more important.
Takeaway: Businesses need stories. Who’s good at telling stories? Yes, you guessed it. Helping small businesses, startups, charities and the like ‘tell their story’ could be a profitable sidearm to your journalism in 2011.
#93 Transmedia producers
The job-title ‘transmedia producer’ will be created in 2011, JWT analysts predict; more people (including journalists) will be expected to produce content across a range of platforms: in video, text, audio and interactives.
Takeaway: although multimedia producing is not news for journalists, if you’re still a one-platform guy or gal, make it your business to learn a new skill this year.
#100 Youtube the Broadcaster
The JWT report predicts Youtube will become a ‘broadcasting’ platform in its own right, with more live streaming and television-style coverage. Concerning for those of us who don’t want online video to turn into yet more bland television, but of use to journalists none-the-less.
Takeaway: think of Youtube as a channel more than a landfill for online video. Look at users like Fred (606 million views and counting!) who build massive audiences, not around individual videos, but around branded channels. Is there a channel for your expertise that needs building?
Those 100 predictions in full
Many of the other predictions have significance for journalists – as story ideas as well as clues and inspiration for big innovation. Here’s the report in full.