Throughout 2022, the topics of COVID-19, economic uncertainty, work conditions, benefits, and technology continued. As we tackle these issues, the question of what the future holds for the news and communications industries arises. The Business Wire Global Media Relations Team shares ten trends that will impact journalists and PR professionals in 2023 and beyond. 

Artificial Intelligence and Non-Fungible Tokens
Jeanne Prisyazhnaya, Media Relations Specialist, New York 

Automated journalism is not new: it’s been used for earthquake alerts, sports articles, and earnings reports by media organizations such as LATimes and AP. It can even be personalized and help build relationships with subscribers or readers. Think Spotify and its end-of-year recaps, creatively sharing subscribers’ music preferences and listening habits, or “Newsprint”, Washington Post’s interactive feature that reveals the content their subscribers most enjoyed throughout the year.  

Artificial intelligence is often created and implemented to relieve journalists of mundane and repetitive daily tasks, freeing their time for more creative assignments. However, AI is evolving, and it can generate content such as text, images, video, and more.  

A new term was recently introduced to the content creation scene: generative AI. Already on the radar of media professionals like social media managers and writers who create content regularly, generative AI can create images, videos (with the risk of deepfakes), voice recordings, and text like social media messages, captions, blog posts, and even articles. Some PR professionals have started to explore AI and machine learning (ML) to create more personalized pitches and more effective subject lines. In a survey conducted by BuzzStream and Fractl: 

  • 79% of respondents felt AI-produced pitches were convincing, 
  • 71% reported “high” or “very high” quality of the pitches, and 
  • 62% of the respondents admitted that AI-written subject lines were better than ones they received or wrote on their own. 

AI and ML tools will continue to evolve and play a role in the journalism industry next year. But AI is not all-mighty and powerful. Building and nourishing genuine and trustworthy connections with journalists cannot be replaced with technology.

In addition to automated journalism, for the past couple of years, news outlets have been experimenting with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a unique digital item. NFTs allow journalists to turn articles, images, and original digital work into biddable objects for revenue. So far, they have encountered interesting results while uncovering a new revenue stream for journalism. AP’s collection of 24,000 Unique Moments NFTs sold out in just over one minute. A New York Times column was sold for more than $500,000 in an auction, the first such sale in the history of the newspaper. NFT was popular and experimental this year, and it’s possible that it will continue to create revenue for the media industry in the future. Time will tell. 

Podcast Trends in 2023 and Beyond
Jacqueline Monroe, Media Relations Specialist, San Diego 

With over 2 million podcasts available globally, the number of listeners is expected to increase from 383.7 million to over 500 million by 2024. This is good news for media companies who are already moving content online. Over 160 million Americans for example, listen to podcasts, making them an excellent addition to any business strategy for distributing journalistic content.  

This year, several media companies (like New York Magazine, Guardian, and ImpreMedia’s Spanish Newspaper La Opinion) have released news podcasts, and many journalists are starting their own podcasts independently using popular platforms like Apple, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. For example, Krystal Ball, a former television host at MSNBC, and Saagar Enjeti, a former White House correspondent for The Daily Caller, launched their YouTube show and podcast, Breaking Points, and gained 40,000 subscribers in just two days. By the end of their first week, they were up to 285,000 subscribers. 

The financial return on investment for podcasts is realized through advertising. Some podcasts like Radiolab, a podcast that asks deep questions and uses investigative journalism, are putting their show behind a subscription paywall as an additional way to earn revenue and provide paying subscribers with ad-free, exclusive episodes.  

In an ever-changing media landscape filled with innovation and potential, the $2 billion podcasting industry can be a valuable investment in 2023 and beyond for companies looking to adopt new forms of media to keep their industry afloat and generate revenue. 

Newsletters, What’s New?
Jeanne Prisyazhnaya, Media Relations Specialist, New York 

Conversations about the current state and future of the newsletter business are not slowing down. Newsletters remain an effective tool to strengthen relationships with readers and inspire them toward paid subscriptions. Even though there are predictions that we are past the peak of the newsletter era, more newsletters continue to be created. Media publications like Semafor, Axios, Puck, The Ringer, Punchbowl News, and Politico have newsletters that are thriving. Some, like The Dispatch, are so popular that they’ve moved from Substack to their own websites. 

Publications are also turning to LinkedIn to share their newsletters. For example, these newsletters have had impressive results and fast subscriber growth:

Separately, newsletters are helping freelancers elevate their careers and grow their personal brands without in-house restrictions. Freelancers can showcase their expertise, share their work, and nourish relationships with audiences or subscribers. 

Journalists are also launching newsletters on popular platforms like Substack. Substack offers journalists and bloggers a free newsletter platform, or a paid option that allows for subscriber revenue generation. These newsletters are becoming valuable assets in PR professionals’ toolkits. For example, top-rated US freelance food and travel journalist, Aly Walansky, utilizes Substack to share recent articles, provide career opportunities, pitching tips, and insights for upcoming stories, and to host her own media events. 

Newsletters will no doubt continue to grow and evolve in 2023.  

The Changing Landscape of Social Media Connectivity
Alex Mikhail, Media Relations Specialist, Los Angeles 

In 2023, journalists will continue to rely heavily on social media to connect with sources, colleagues, followers, and PR professionals, and to discover the news they consume. Social media has become largely inseparable from the duties and responsibilities of journalists; 94% of journalists report using social media for work, with 69% using Twitter most often, followed by Facebook at 52%. 

Social media allows journalists to promote their stories and get a better understanding of their audiences. While Twitter’s future is unclear as it reshapes verification and subscriptions, media will be forced to adopt new strategies to access trusted news and networks. The nature of Twitter as a platform makes it convenient for receiving breaking news, and it will likely continue to be a necessary tool for journalists in 2023.  

Virtual Fatigue
Jeanne Prisyazhnaya, Media Relations Specialist, New York 

Online meetings are convenient, budget-friendly, and commute-free. However, many media professionals are experiencing virtual fatigue and are craving in-person experiences. At the beginning of 2022, Muck Rack noted that  53% of journalists planned to cover more in-person events this year, and it seems that this number will continue to grow in 2023. 

Though we’ve adopted “Virtual Hygiene” and know to adhere to “Zoom Etiquette,” national and local journalism and PR organizations are increasingly turning back to in-person meetings and events. In my experience, several journalists simply prefer to connect the “old school” way: face-to-face or over the phone.  

A downside to the shift back to in-person events is the ease of accessibility for international journalists and media professionals. Over the last few years, attending a conference on the other side of the globe became easier (aside from time zone differences), not to mention being able to avoid the cost of travel and accommodations. Virtual and hybrid events also allow media professionals around the globe a way to expand their network. The International Symposium on Online Journalism held its annual conference in April with nearly 300 people attending in person in Austin and almost 1,000 people attending virtually from 90 countries.  

While hybrid events will likely continue, ultimately, many crave in-person interaction, and with virtual fatigue on the rise, we’ll see more face-to-face meetings and events in 2023. 

DEI Remains Imperative
Pilar Portela, US Media Relations Manager, Miami 

A commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) will continue to be essential for journalists and PR practitioners in 2023 and beyond. The key to its continuation is intention and execution.  

During the pandemic, many organizations crafted DEI strategies and plans. Unfortunately, due to economic uncertainty over the last few years, many businesses may remove these “nice to have” resources. However, it’s imperative for organizations to uphold their plans and for employees to see them implemented. 

Moving forward, businesses will need to be more intentional about how to execute DEI initiatives. In the media industry, reporters covering stories on DEI want to be assured that the newsrooms they work for follow the same guidelines they are writing about. They also want to share stories that are diverse and inclusive. This requires critical analysis of information from various perspectives and voices.  

To successfully continue, DEI initiatives need to have consistent action and open communication. Internal and external DEI communications need to be aligned to avoid future organizational crises. Since hybrid work environments can exacerbate inequities, organizations should implement managerial DEI-focused support and continue to use the latest technology and tools such as mentorships, virtual meetings, and team huddles to connect with all employees.  

CSR Practices Still Important to Organizational Plan
Pilar Portela, US Media Relations Manager, Miami 

During the pandemic, we saw firsthand that it is no longer enough for organizations to have Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices in place. As we approach 2023 with economic uncertainty, it’s more important than ever for companies to maintain brand citizenship awareness and actions. Consumers expect brands to behave like responsible citizens and want to see companies taking actions such as DEI, charitable global giving, volunteering, and making socially and environmentally conscious investments.  

Below, Simona shares an example of journalists taking action in Europe. 

Journalists Will Lead by Example and Play A Crucial Role in Informing the Public
About Climate Change
Simona Colletta, Media Relations Specialist, Paris 

In addition to seeing organizations put CSR practices into place, or uphold existing CSR practices, we expect to see other groups, like journalists, enact their own practices.  

After a summer marked by global climatic disasters (wildfires in France, Hurricane Ian in Florida, summer drought in Europe, monsoon flooding in Pakistan), a group of French journalists created the “Charter for Green Journalism” to improve ecological and climate change coverage and to emphasize the crucial role the media plays in informing the public about these issues. 

The 13 commitments outlined in the charter are the result of several months of work combining journalists, experts, and citizen groups. Signed by over 1,000 journalists from nearly 50 French media organizations, the charter “aims to be a compass” inviting media professionals to change the way they work moving forward, explains Loup Espargilière, creator of Vert.eco, the media that launched the initial idea for the charter. 

Here are three of the charter’s commitments: 

  1. Cover all stories related to climate, biodiversity, and social justice in an interdisciplinary manner. They are intricately intertwined. Ecology can no longer be limited to a separate column; it must become a prism through which stories are approached. 
  2. Take an educational approach. Scientific data relating to ecological issues are often complex. We must explain orders of magnitude and scales of time, help identify causal links, and provide elements of comparison. 
  3. Reflect on the wording and images used. Carefully choosing words and pictures is crucial so as to accurately describe the facts and convey the urgency. We must avoid representations that may distort reality and understate the seriousness of the situation. 

Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG): A Key to Success
Ronald Chung, Senior Media Relations Specialist, Hong Kong 

While Brand Citizenship remains an indispensable concept, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) helps drive the growth of many companies and media brands. ESG helps raise the standards of production in the global economy and in the communities where we live and work. 

Throughout China, companies have been given guidelines to help create, implement, and report on ESG programs. This has pushed investors and enterprises to focus on ESG as a primary factor when making business decisions. Organizations are also evaluating their own sustainability and placing great importance on implementing green practices. 

With the rise of online communities and key-opinion podcasts, every move of a business entity is under the magnifying glass. In the ever-changing business environment, implementing effective ESG programs can help reduce the risk of potential damage to a brand’s image.  

Several top-tier media in the Greater China region including Business Today and Jie Mian have promoted and shared the concept of ESG via development policies. Awards programs like CEGA by Sina Finance have also been set up to motivate companies to develop and implement ESG-related measures. It is expected that Greater China regional media will continue to promote and put emphasis on ESG. 

Additionally, it is key for corporations and media to showcase their ESG programs to customers in a dynamic and engaging manner instead of report-only content. Video content from Hong Kong Economic Times and Television Broadcasts Limited are great examples of this from 2022. This method of relaying ESG information to the public will continue in the upcoming year. 

Verifying News During an Era of Misinformation and Disinformation
Alex Mikhail, Media Relations Specialist, Los Angeles 

With the plethora and variety of tools available to media professionals and the various initiatives that will be top of mind in 2023, the ability to identify misinformation and disinformation in the news remains incredibly important. 

The prevalence and awareness of disingenuous news among the public and media alike have increased over the last several years. 94% of journalists and 50% of adults say misinformation is a significant problem in America today.  

Because they regularly come across inaccurate information on the internet, most journalists are confident in their abilities to filter out fake news. But this is becoming easier said than done; 26% of reporters say they have unknowingly covered a story that they later found to be false or inaccurate.  

In 2023, misinformation and disinformation will continue to circulate. As such, reporters will continue to vigilantly scour the pitches they receive and their sources, and the use of tools to identify accurate information, verify sources, and understand bias will become even more crucial. 

The media relations world continues to grow and evolve. Each year we see new tools introduced and software or platforms change. Throughout 2022, AI became a worthy PR tool, meanwhile, social media - utilized often by journalists - is changing drastically. Various topics of focus for media and organizations around the world can also shift each year. The importance of DEI, CSR, and ESG initiatives is growing both in the corporate world and in newsrooms. As we move into a new year, consider these top media relations trends as your guide.    


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