Experts’ texts about the future of journalism are fairly thin on actual predictions, write Wilson Lowrey and Zhou Shan, both of University of Alabama. The authors analysed a total of 98 “end-of-the-year predictions” written by journalism experts and published on the NiemanLab website in 2011 and 2014.
Data or theory was rarely used to legitimize the texts’ conclusions, Lowrey and Shan noticed. Instead, many texts based their predictions on observations of what prestigious newsrooms were doing.
Most notably, the experts often expressed vague and uncontroversial views. For example, many simply remarked that the future is difficult to predict and almost anything can happen, or predicted that the current trends will continue into the future.
The article “Journalism’s fortune tellers” was published by the journal Journalism. It is available online (free abstract).
Picture: Crystal ball by Ervins Strauhmanis, licence CC0 1.0.