Amid all the year-end listicles (that’s list + articles) and predictions, I neglected to include my look ahead to the year in journalism, 2016 – Daily Sun-style.
Unlike the New York Times, we’re not going to be pushing virtual reality projects, the kind with 360-degree, immersive video. That doesn’t mean VR won’t eventually come to Flagstaff. But I’m still trying to figure out how to assemble the cardboard viewing headset the Times sent me.
And unlike the Washington Post, we won’t be posting a lot of videos and galleries to Facebook’s Instant Articles platform, even though the move helped the Post surpass the Times in online readership. I will remind Daily Sun Full Access subscribers, however, that they received a free, one-year’s subscription to the Washington Post online – just in time for the 2016 election cycle.
So what will the Daily Sun be doing in 2016. There are plans afoot for not only an upgrade to our website that emphasizes more graphic elements and interfaces. But we’ll also be looking at tweaking our print design, too. The latter is less complicated than the former but a lot more intimidating – print readers are known for their loyalty to a specific look and feel in their hometown paper, so we’ll be treading carefully before tinkering too much.
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The future of journalism lies not, however, on the print platform – studies show a majority of people are now getting their news from their smartphones via search engines. The Apple smartwatch is also starting to capture the breaking news niche. Just look around you at the people checking their smartphones dozens – sometimes hundreds – of times and day, and it’s clear that creating a mobile-friendly product that intersects with social media is the way to reach more readers.
We have to get better at integrating our storytelling -- the heart of most journalism – with those new mobile entry points, even if eventually we bring readers back to print and the homepage for the longer, more in-depth reads. The local elections will give us a chance to put the voices of more newsmakers – literally -- alongside our digital text stories. As an example, check out the audio today with Emery Cowan’s story on Kara Kelty’s humanitarian mission to Greece.
So 2016 for journalism in Flagstaff will be one of change in how you receive and experience your news. We’ll have a new president by the end of the year. And the Daily Sun, in all likelihood, won’t be the same, either.