Yes, it’s that time of year again. Lots of people are risking future derision by telling us what to expect in 2008.
Consider some of the dumber predictions from years past. Back in the 1940s, the head of 20th Century Fox didn’t see any kind of future for the new kid on the block: television. “It won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months,” Darryl F. Zanuck said. “People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” The founder of Digital Equipment Corp—now known as Hewlett Packard or HP–was just as tone deaf about computers. Thirty years ago, Kenneth Olson said “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.” A real visionary, that guy.
So it’s with some trepidation that I make any predictions at all. But I do think 2008 will be the year that solo TV journalists make a mark at the national level. ABC News took the first big leap, creating one-person international bureaus back in October. Look for other major news organizations to follow suit. And watch for more local TV stations to add “backpack” journalists, as Gannett has done.
What else should you look for in 2008?
CNET executive editor Tom Merritt has this prediction:
The death of broadcast TV, or at least it will become extremely ill. More and more people will take to the convenience of watching shows online or on demand and at least one network will stream shows online simultaneously with on air. An Internet connected to the TV will begin to be the norm.
Jon Fine of Business Week offers two options:
Increasing chatter swirls around two possible post-election developments: Katie Couric will leave the CBS (CBS) Evening News before her current contract expires, and General Electric (GE) will sell NBC Universal. In one case, the chatterers eventually are proven right.
David Smydra writes in Half Moon Bay Review that citizen journalism will be less important in 2008.
…it is already scratching the ceiling. Many citizen journalism Web sites have already discovered this, having to forfeit their initial vigilance in favor of pasting press releases verbatim.
On the other hand, Mashable’s Sean Aune predicts boom time for bloggers:
Bloggers are creeping closer and closer to legitimacy, and the world needs to be prepared for how it is going to change the media….Those that have been around for awhile, and proven themselves, will get treated more and more like actual journalists.
AR&D’s Terry Heaton predicts that traditional media companies will stop playing with the Web in 2008 and start embracing it:
By this time next year, many local media branded web efforts will involve some form of continuous stream of news and an awakening to the reality of news as a process, not a finished product. It’s the logical format to serve an audience largely at work, and the RSS feeds from such an effort can be used in any form of unbundled media play.
And finally, this tongue-in-cheek prediction from British journalism professor Adrian Monck:
BBC News will appoint a floods correspondent, specially equipped with a glass-bottomed, satellite linked mini-submarine. Summer 2008 will be the hottest and driest on record.
Have a happy new year!