ICFJ Knight Fellows share advice for journalists and newsrooms in 2019

byIJNet
Jan 04 in Journalism Basics
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Each year brings changes in the field of journalism. From new innovations to changing political environments, journalists around the world need to be ready adapt to everything the year has in store.

To gain a better understanding of what to expect this year, IJNet reached out to three leaders in global journalism — ICFJ Knight Fellows Catherine Gicheru, Jatin Gandhi and Janine Warner — what to expect and how to prepare for it. Here is their advice for journalists and newsrooms in 2019:

To build trust with audiences, invest less in clickbait news and more in value-added journalism.

Catherine Gicheru, ICFJ Knight Fellow in Kenya working with Code for Kenya

Misinformation and disinformation contribute to public mistrust. Newsrooms will urgently have to develop new strategies beyond media literacy programs to maintain or rebuild this trust. One way to accomplish this is by providing quality journalism which goes beyond rhetoric to evidence-based reporting. In order to do so, publishers will have to consider diverting some of the resources they are spending on clickbait news — which attracts views for ad revenue — to building teams that can produce value-added journalism that connects with audiences.

Covering elections in 2019? Report on more than the political cockfight.

Jatin Gandhi, ICFJ Knight Fellow in India working with PROTO

Elections are an extremely busy time for the press. In democracies like India, they bring with them a windfall of resources and opportunities to understand, report on and explain the complexities that shape democracy.

This makes elections a good time for journalists to underline the role that a free and fair media plays in a democratic society. Often, though, a large part of valuable media space is devoted to the political cockfights that steer people’s attention away from the real issues. Instead, the press needs to present an unbiased report card of the performance and outlook of the parties and candidates.

If journalism remains focused on democracy’s core issues — quality governance, people’s welfare, the utilization of resources and strengthening democratic institutions — we can hold governments, politicians and their parties accountable to what they delivered, or promise to deliver.

Diversify your revenue model with support from audience members.

Janine Warner, ICFJ Knight Fellow in Latin America working with SembraMedia

One of the most exciting developments I’ve seen in the media ecosystem is the growth in audience support of independent news sites. From crowdfunding campaigns to membership programs, small and large donations are becoming an important part of media revenues. Beyond financial donations, media sites are also inviting their audiences to help as whistleblowers, photographers, pro bono experts and event volunteers. What I love about support from individual donors is that it works best for media that are trusted and respected by their readers.


Main image CC-licensed by Unsplash via NESA by Makers.