Nov 13, 2018

Newsrooms transform to cover the 21st century

News verticals that once brought in big subscription dollars and advertiser interest, like auto and arts, are being replaced by new-age topics that are relevant to understanding the world today, like space, the future of work, artificial intelligence, the future of transportation, blockchain and misinformation.

Why it matters: Before newsrooms began to invest heavily on covering these topics, experts typically resorted to Medium or LinkedIn to post about industry advancements and news. Now, news publications have a wider audience for these types of stories, as technology becomes a bigger part of everyday life.

  • Space: National Geographic, Politico, Seeker and others have also recently launched "Space" sections or products. Other news outlets, like CNN, The Verge and Quartz, have had specialized space coverage for a while.
  • Misinformation: News companies like CNN, NBC and BuzzFeed have all hired dedicated reporters to covering misinformation and the future of online discourse.
  • The future of work: Companies like the New York Times, Axios, Forbes and Quartz have been heavily reporting on how technology and automation will impact jobs and the workforce.
  • Future of transportation: Bloomberg, The Information, Axios, Cheddar and others have hired reporters for analysis of autonomous technology and its impact on cities, policy and the economy. TechCrunch has several reporters that focus specifically on the investment side.
  • Blockchain/Cryptocurrency: Many outlets have invested in blockchain-specific beat reporters, including most major technology and finance publications, like Forbes, Business Insider and Quartz. Some companies have even launched to try to put news outlets on the blockchain, like Po.et and Civil. Forbes became the first major media company to announce it was putting its content on the blockchain in 2019.

Between the lines: Advertiser interest around some of these topics is exploding.

  • As the space race becomes privatized, companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are interested in messaging their space efforts to corporate decision-makers.
  • Tech giants like Google and Facebook are investing millions in budgets to explain how much they are fighting misinformation.
  • Retail and manufacturing giants — like Walmart and GE, which are retraining workers and rebuilding their supply chains — are investing millions of dollars to sponsor future of work sections and conferences.

The big picture: Many news outlets are starting to expand tech coverage more broadly.

  • CNN, the Washington Post and the Financial Times all announced major additions to their tech teams this year.
  • A new media company called The Markup has launched with a $20 million backing from the founder of Craigslist to investigate the ways tech is changing society.
  • Flipboard, which refers a large percentage of mobile traffic to publishers, said it would focus on covering more tech news on its app.

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