Looking beyond trends

Trends are not sustainable solutions and they certainly don’t solve problems at their roots. This morning, I sat down to chat about interaction design and news trends with Jeremy and Jessica Gilbert at the Medill School of Journalism in at Northwestern University and Jennifer George-Palilonis, SND’s Society for News Design Education Director.

It would have been great if news companies invented Groupon, Craigslist, Yelp and Twitter. But they didn’t. And really, advertising and money from other services are simply revenue models. They are not directly related to news content. We questioned if people would pay for content and debated if the “everything for free” concept is a phase.

People are willing to pay for service, trust and quality. We pay for Flickr, Dropbox and Netflix. Readers are looking for solutions to cut through the noise online. Twitter is so valuable because we can depend our network to filter trustworthy, useful content.

Jeremy and I spent time talking about the power of automated story crafting. What would the news look like if we let reporters gather and write but let computers process and parse the information? Can machines help bring context and individualized stories to our readers? We can move away from Wiki style live coverage to something that will be much more valuable for our staffs and readers.

As we look beyond trends and into the next few decades a few themes are visible. We will see changes in how we depend on our networks, our editors, computer automated resources and bringing more context to news.