GEN 2019: Voice, Visual Journalism and Verification

Next year, our profession will have to overcome a VVV challenge: Voice, Visual Journalism and Verification.

1. Voice and Voice AI are the obvious topics for 2019. All the editors who we met in the last six months have become captivated with smart speakers offered by Amazon, Google and Apple. There are already 47 million smart speakers next to people’s couches in the United States, and there are 220 million adults in the country. According to Chartbeat, this number could double in the next six months. It means this mass phenomenon will very soon have a serious impact on how news will be consumed. Who will be the winners of this new battle? Big conglomerates, local news providers, or infotainment companies? What will the speed of adoption be in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa? It seems obvious that countries with strong public or private broadcasters will be at the top of the evolution, but what about new agile players?

2.  Visual journalism – and video – will be our second challenge. Kevin Delaney, Quartz editor, said that we’re entering ‘the golden age of video journalism’, an idea that we are taking very seriously, even if the ‘pivot to video’ strategy failed for some media organisations. It means YouTube videos will lose their current monopoly in the upcoming years. Think about the new wave of live events, anticipate news shows on Facebook Watch and very soon on Netflix, imagine new formats based on vertical or square videos on Snap and Instagram. 2019 will be the year of new storytelling methods based on a real integration of text, sound, video and data-viz. New software will help us to conceive new ways of telling stories, as well as AR experiments on your smartphones or new devices such as smart glasses or smart watches.

3. Verification will be the third challenge. Journalists will continue to fight misinformation, propaganda, and rumours, especially as disputed general elections are coming up in several countries in the coming year. This without forgeting the European elections at the end of May, three weeks before our Athens conference. Rather than just producing news, journalists must today verify and control what happens on social media and closed messaging apps. At the GEN Summit, verification will not be limited to fact-checking, it will have a broader sense because the accumulation of fake news is undermining our democracies and is distracting citizens to vote and to defend democratic values. More info click here.