These 10 journalistic “next big thing” predictions are doomed to fail in 2017

We don’t want to appear pessimistic. But well, sometimes it’s just way too much fuss about these next big things.

Will VR succeed? The answer lies in heaven.

There are a lot of predictions out there of what will be the coolest thing on earth that will clearly save journalism in 2017. Let’s face it: Not all of them are going to make it through the year at all. We asked our community of digital journalism experts, what they think will most certainly fail this year. Here is our list of the 10 most overrated *big things* for 2017.


This article is part of the weekly challenge in our Slack Community “Digital Journalism Rocks”. We started a Slack team for all those who love digital journalism and love to share their knowledge. Interested in joining us? It’s free. And it rocks. digital-journalism.rocks.


Sorry guys and girls, you won’t see much impact from these 10 trends this year:

1. Virtual Reality

2017 won’t be the year of VR journalism. The tools for creating a VR experience are missing, there is no industry standard yet and not enough devices on the market.
by Johannes Klingebiel

VR is an amazing medium, and has more power to provoke empathy in users than many others. But the logistical challenges are somewhat overlooked. It’s incredibly expensive and time consuming. The VR experience does take time out of a person’s day. If we think about consumer’s reading habits — often on the go, scrolling on their phones while waiting between tasks, VR doesn’t fit too well into it on a large scale.
by Farah Colette

2. Monetizing Facebook Videos

2017 won’t be the year publishers start monetizing their video content on Facebook in huge numbers. I’ve heard that every year. For years. So let’s increase the pressure on Facebook to do something about it. And I would be very, very happy to be completely wrong about that.
by Martin Hoffmann

3. Live Video

Live video won’t have such an impact everyone thinks. There is a reason why on-demand-video is huge right now: Nobody has time to watch events from all over the world as they happen. There may be certain incidents (as big as terror attacks) where people want to see live video, but the majority of livestreams will struggle to find it’s audience.
by Lina Timm

I don’t think live video broadcasts from amateurs will ever be the hit some people are dreaming it someday will be. It’s just too unpredictable. Twitter more or less abandons Periscope with it’s mainly user generated content in favor of native live broadcasts on Twitter that are all about professional quality content. But it seems publishers aren’t that interested in creating quality live content. I think that’s the major issue for the social media giants — how to make publishers provide the content they desperately need in order to monetize.
by Henrik Ståhl

4. Live Audio

Live Audio is going to fail.
by Marc Biskup

I think Facebook and the other social networks are visual mediums. User want to have subtitles in videos, because they want to watch them without using headphones. So why should they be interested in pure audio on the same plattform?
by Mario Geisenhanslüke

Smart players who create quality audio for broadcast might find this useful, but I’m not sure Live Audio will bring anything too much more than what Facebook lives already have.
by Kate AG

When the biggest social network is giving a free round of attention by starting a new way for audio broadcasting (and by pushing it right into the newsfeed), Live Audio will be a huge opportunity for all the broad- and podcasters out there. But, of course, they can miss it and will do it like always.
by Marc Krueger

5. Ad-block Paywalls

Hard ad-block paywalls, the ones that tell you to either stay away or disable your ad-blocker, are going to fail. One example: I expect to have the fake-news discussion for quite some time. Apart from fighting fake news directly by highlighting, deleting or fact-checking them, one approach will be to distribute news more thoroughly. Yet, this will require news outlets’ credibility among a general readership. Therefore, I think outlets need to make parts of their content available in order not to annoy those readers which they maybe didn’t even want in the first place, because they don’t pay.
by Mario Haim

I think that blocking ad-blockers is a temporary solution to an already lost cause.
by Henrik Ståhl

6. Social Bots

Yes, bots have sent massive amounts of tweets the week before the Brexit referendum or around the presidential debates. And yes, they might have flooded some digital debates. But there isn’t any scientific evidence that bots can have any real world consequences. Every researcher I’ve spoken to so far is skeptical in terms of their influence on political decision making. This frequently cited study doesn’t say that bots caused the Brexit. The researchers just analyzed the (presumably) bot generated traffic, the conclusions have been drawn by the journalists. It’s possible to manipulate public opinion with digital methods — but social bots ain’t one of those.
by Simon Hurtz

7. We Won’t Find Solutions for the Comment-Section

2017 won’t be the year we find the solution to comment sections for news companies in general. Some smaller ones have figured it out like the Dutch De Correspondent, but I haven’t seen a solution yet that works universally on a larger scale. Audience engagement has been a buzzword for quite some time and I estimate it will stay that way in 2017.
by Dorien Luyckx

8. Messaging Bots

I don’t think messaging bots will be the next big thing. Mainly because news bots aren’t interesting enough, but also because I think people get annoyed by news related notifications in Facebook Messenger, for example.
by Henrik Ståhl

9. We Won’t Stop Using Polls

2017 won’t be the year we stop using polls and start having a critical approach to statistics in every newsroom. Mainly because newsrooms won’t hire enough data scientists and data journalists to do so. I’m not sure if this one holds up for everywhere, but I definitely saw some shameless use of wrong interpretation of numbers and polls after the “We shall never use polls again” claim after the US elections.
by Dorien Luyckx

10. Print Will Not Die

We all have been hearing this since we began working in media and every year I keep hearing print is dead. But! Nobody, or to be fair, 99,99% of publishers are refusing to go fully into the digital realm. On one hand, some have still huge incomes from print ads, on other hand I truly believe a lot of them are terified of the web and figuring out how to make money online. Do not get me wrong — print is dying. Only I think publishers still keep pouring a lot of resources into it. And we will see this happening in 2017 as well.
by David Tvrdon


So 2017, now it’s your call. All of us would love to be proved wrong because innovation in tech and journalism goes WAY faster than we all think it does.

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