Press Gazette asked 22 of their readers – news leaders from across the UK and US – to provide their media predictions and plans for 2022.
They asked executives and editors from Reuters, The Sun, Dow Jones, The Times, Quartz, the Telegraph, Gannett, Future, Insider and many other newsgroups to tell them how optimistic they are about the year ahead compared with this time last year. They also asked them to say what they think the biggest opportunity of 2022 will be and how they plan to capitalise on that opportunity.
The respondents operate in multiple sectors, run different lines of business, and live across various time zones. But there were some overriding themes.
There’s nothing like hearing things from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, so we have summarised the original article below.
1. ‘Fact-based journalism is a commercial opportunity’
When Press Gazette ran a similar survey last year, they asked news leaders to identify the biggest challenges of 2021. Several then referenced the online proliferation of misinformation and unreliable news sources.
As we head into 2022, these issues remain. But some news leaders now view them as an opportunity.
“As politics and society become increasingly polarized and opinionated, there is a tremendous opportunity for publishers that offer impartial and unbiased news,” wrote Alessandra Galloni, the editor-in-chief of Reuters. “Presenting rigorously fact-checked, fact-based journalism is a commercial opportunity.”
Almar Latour, the chief executive of Dow Jones and publisher of the Wall Street Journal, said: “During times of unprecedented complexity and disruption, people need to understand the facts. As publishers, it’s our responsibility to rise to the challenge—and that’s an opportunity as well.”
2. Newsletters and ‘thoughtful curation’
Several respondents specifically referenced newsletters as a tool for guiding readers through a digital world that is overrun by news sources.
Katherine Bell, the editor-in-chief of Quartz, identified “thoughtful curation” as the biggest opportunity of 2022.
“Readers are overwhelmed by the abundance and unbundling of information,” she wrote. “I absolutely love email newsletters, and I pay for a lot of them, but I only read a few of them regularly.
“Readers don’t know what to pay attention to – this has been a problem in digital media for years, and it’s only grown worse, but I think this could be the year when we’ll see some new efforts to solve it. We’ve been thinking about this a lot at Quartz.”
Alison Phillips, editor-in-chief of The Mirror, said: “It will be interesting to see what else comes from our work with newsletters. I have a weekly editor’s newsletter and in some ways, curating that balanced diet of must-read stories feels very similar to the process of putting a paper together. I think many readers will really respond to that level of care.”
3. Audience data
Several news leaders – running both editorial and commercial teams – identified their biggest opportunity as using data to better acquaint themselves with their readers.
For editors like Victoria Newton of The Sun, improved reader data puts her title in a “great position to serve our audiences better”. “A combination of old-fashioned scoops and audience data means we can own stories on all platforms, maximising traffic and revenue,” she wrote.
Kris Barton, chief product officer of US news giant Gannett, said: “As for all publishers, another big opportunity is centred on ways to develop and build first-party data platforms as we near the end of the third-party cookie.
“I believe registrations will become increasingly important for publishers. In return, audiences will have higher expectations from publishers as logged-in users, which provides an opportunity to deliver on those expectations and create more meaningful interactions.
“At USA Today Network, we will be using AI, recommendation tools, and innovating to provide even more personalized experiences for our registered audiences.”
Sean Griffey, the founder and chief executive of B2B business Industry Dive, wrote: “The continued regulatory, technological, and societal shifts towards privacy give publishers a chance to redefine their relationship with their audience and marketers.
“Successful media companies of tomorrow will recognize the value and importance of their first-party data. The biggest opportunity we have today is to not only get a handle of the data we have but put it in formats that are actionable not only for marketing partners but internal teams, too.”
4. ‘Building closer relationships with readers’
On a similar vein, Nick Mitchell, the editor of JPI Media’s National World website, believes 2022 will be a year when publishers can start “building closer relationships with readers”.
He wrote: “The days of relying on one Silicon Valley-based platform are thankfully long behind us as an industry, and now the opportunity is in deepening our links with our audience, whether that’s through more thoughtfully curated newsletters, online communities (that encourage intelligent and considerate debate), membership offerings, bespoke events (virtual or IRL), or app-based notifications.”
Nicholas Carlson, the global editor-in-chief of Insider, wrote: “The biggest opportunity for publishers in 2022 is the same as it is every year: to figure out what readers and viewers want to know and engage them about it. Tell the truth. Be independent. Be fair. Be helpful. The rest will follow.”
Cick on the names below to see the full 2022 media predictions from all 22 participants:
- Adam Cole, Archant executive director, data, insight and marketing
- Alison Phillips, Mirror editor-in-chief
- Alessandra Galloni, Reuters editor-in-chief
- Almar Latour, Dow Jones chief executive/Wall Street Journal publisher
- Cyrus Mawewella, Global Data head of thematic research
- Dan Wakeford, People editor-in-chief
- Dominic Ponsford, Press Gazette editor-in-chief
- Gary Shipton, JPI Media deputy editor-in-chief/Sussex Newspapers editorial director
- Jeremy Clifford, Archant editor-in-chief
- John Witherow, The Times editor
- Katherine Bell, Quartz editor-in-chief
- Kris Barton, Gannett chief product officer
- Nick Hugh, Telegraph Media Group chief executive
- Nicholas Carlson, Insider editor-in-chief
- Nick Mitchell, National World editor
- Peter Clifton, PA Media editor-in-chief
- Peter Skulimma, Endava senior VP global industry acceleration
- Rebecca Miskin, DC Thomson chief executive
- Sean Griffey, Industry Dive chief executive
- Tabby Elwes, CIL management consultants partner
- Victoria Newton, The Sun editor-in-chief
- Zillah Byng-Thorne, Future chief executive