Reading List: Predictions for 2016

ReadingListEvery year, the Nieman Lab at Harvard gathers dozens of predictions for the coming year in media. We’ve pulled a few that reflect our particular interests — audio work, inclusivity, talent, and public media voices — to share with our friends. Take a look:



• News Isn’t for the Billionaire Few (Maria Bustillos, critic and writer)

“Media should never be permitted to become a mere megaphone for the exclusive use of the rich to impose their views on the rest of us.”

• Forecast: Consistency (Sue Schardt, AIR)

“We can choose to reinforce a collective helplessness at the disparity and division marking our country and the world today. Or we can use this time of chaos, which is ripe for influencing and shaping the future.”

• Building News with, Not Just for, the Community (Molly de Aguiar, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Local News Lab.)

“The public rarely gets asked what they care about, or invited to participate in meaningful ways.”

• Racism by Numbers (Errin Haines Whack, The Associated Press)

“As more reporters discover data to back up long-held ideas about disparities in communities and institutions across America, they’ll be able to get beyond feelings and emotions to prove — or disprove — whether and how systemic racism is part of the equation.”

• Come on, Feel Something (Kim Bui,

“Empathy could improve the mental health of newsrooms, allowing us to say to one another that we were angered, bothered, saddened by something, and work through that with each other and our audiences.”

• #WomenInJournalism (Amie Ferris-Rotman, Sahar Speaks)

“Today’s young news consumers expect balanced coverage of gender-related topics, are used to hearing more diverse voices, and are, quite frankly, bored of the seemingly endless stream of identikit men in the media.”


• The Amplification of Audio Storytelling (Mira Lowe, CNN Digital)

“This year, be on the lookout for more viral audio that focuses on interesting sound produced for social web.”

• The Last Mass Medium Finally Emerges (Caitlin Thompson, Acast)

“The landscape for on-demand audio is looking more like how we encounter YouTube now: rarely on YouTube dot com, but certainly everywhere else.”

• Podcasting Fights the Hype (Nick Quah, Panoply, HotPod newsletter)

“A future in podcasting is not inevitable. The onus is on us, the producers, companies, and technologists that love and believe in the medium, to make it so.”

• The Podcasting Scene Will Explode (Rex Sorgatz, KindaSortaMedia)

“Right now, radio dominates — terrestrial radio occupies 52 percent of all audio consumption; satellite, another 8 percent. …Yet they suck. They suck as user experiences; they suck as content sources.”

• Podcasts Own Radio (Jesse Brown, Canadaland podcast)

“My favorite podcasts are so much better than what’s available to me on FM radio, but I need local news and traffic.”


• Invest in People (Carrie Brown-Smith, Social Journalism program at City University of New York)

“I would also like to see the foundations that today play such an important role in funding innovation in journalism recognize that investing in people is just as sexy as investing in new tech and big data.”

• Diversity or Fail (Kaety Hinck, Institute for Nonprofit News)

“The most incisive journalism will be from newsrooms that have a diverse staff — and top leadership that reflects that diversity.”

• The Return of the Independents (Zizi Papacharissi, University of Illinois at Chicago)

“Most media conglomerates obsess with covering the latest news … an obsession with instantaneity in news reporting that robs stories of their substance.”


• Time to Get Serious about Chat Apps (Elise Hu, NPR)

“On WeChat, users can not just send money, but book doctor’s appointments, hail cabs, and more. The engagement possibilities are rife for exploration, and chat apps have young, growing user bases that aren’t being met by Western news sources.”

• The Most Exciting Company in Media Sells a Card Game (Melody Kramer, MediaPublic)

“They’re smart, they’re independent, they make money despite releasing their entire product online for free — and they’re building something much larger than a late night party game.”

• Journalism on the Comeback Trail (Michael Oreskes, NPR)

“It was two freelance reporters who forced the release of the autopsy and then the video of the shooting of Laquan McDonald in Chicago. Where were the big news organizations, one of them asked? It’s a good question.”