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The Future of News Report
An analysis of developments, scenarios and initiatives to increase the value of news in 2030
A healthy democracy depends on a healthy news ecosystem. And we can no longer take either for granted. Download our report exploring what we can do to safeguard the value of news and strengthen our news ecosystem in a fast changing technological, social and economic landscape.
Documentary Future of News
News plays a vital role in democratic societies. But that role is being challenged by a combination of mis- and dis-information, deepfake technology, AI systems, filter bubbles, and the growing vulnerability of citizens with lower digital and media literacy. In light of these challenges, societies need new checks and balances to safeguard the value of news.
As we are passionate about the importance of news to societies, the Deloitte Impact Foundation assembled a team across Deloitte and engaged a broad group of more than 30 external experts to study potential initiatives that will have a positive impact on the future of news.
The resulting Future of News study focuses on safeguarding two distinct news
functions that are essential within democratic societies: the forum function (facilitating public debate) and the control function (acting as a watchdog). The forum function depends on news consumers having access to a pluriform news landscape and being able to form well-informed opinions. The control function depends on journalists being free to report on government and company policy- and decision-making that affect our society.
How healthy is the news landscape?
The study distilled a set of six indicators that measure the extent to which news is performing these functions:
- Inclusivity - equal representation and opportunity for different societal groups
- Pluralism - presentation of information from different viewpoints
- Accessibility - the ability of different societal groups to access news
- Quality – the level of trust in news and the amount of fake and/or misleading information
- Independence - financial and relational independence of journalists and news organizations
- Transparency regarding the news organization’s and journalist’s point of view, such as politics, ideology, and personal beliefs
The study then explored potential future scenarios, by considering 96 social, technological, economic, environmental, and political developments that could impact the news ecosystem. We also conducted a deep-dive on existing and forthcoming EU regulations, which are both complex and far-reaching.
Some of the drivers that will have a significant impact on the future of news have a predictable evolution. These include the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) for content creation, continued pressure to innovate business models and disinformation increasing the need for quality news.
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But the study also identified 27 more unpredictable drivers that could have a
significant impact on the future of news. Of these, two stand out: the role of
tech platforms in news and the level of trust between citizens and journalists.
As the future of news will depend to a major extent on the evolution of these
two drivers, the study presents four extreme, yet plausible scenarios for the
news landscape in 2030, namely:
- Multidimensional Tribes: Citizens are served by a diverse group
of mostly distrusted news outlets. The tech platforms don’t play a dominant
- The News Utopia: Citizens are served by a diverse group
of largely trusted news outlets. The tech platforms don’t play a dominant role.
- Benevolent Tech Platforms: Citizens are served by a small number of largely trusted news outlets, dominated by tech platforms.
- Ignorance is Bliss: Citizens are served by a small number
of mostly distrusted dominated by tech platforms.
Time for new checks and balances
Drawing on this scenarios analysis, the study recommends six initiatives that will positively impact the six key indicators and help safeguard the value of news:
- More (digital) media educational programs to make news more accessible to a broader audience, while also fueling greater interest in more diverse news sources, driving pluralism.
- Installing a critical thinking reminder, which would positively impact the forum function of news by getting readers to pause and think.
- Providing transparency in news algorithms, which would enhance citizens’ understanding and control
- Creation of a pluriform news aggregator, which would support the forum function by increasing accessibility and inclusivity, while providing smaller outlets with the opportunity to reach a wider audience, increasing the pluralism and quality of news.
- Installing proof of provenance using blockchains to positively impact the control function, by supporting transparency, accessibility, and independence.
- Arranging funding for news outlets, which would positively impact the forum and control functions, by supporting a diverse and inclusive news ecosystem.
To implement these initiatives, we recommend building a coalition encompassing news generating and distributing companies, journalists, scientists and government institutions. This coalition should spearhead the initiatives with a collective and consistent goal to safeguard and increase the value of news. The coalition could also monitor market developments against the scenarios, review performance against the value of news indicators, and assess whether further initiatives are needed to safeguard the value of news.