ONA Staple: Webb Delivers Top Trends

“Want to go to a movie tonight?”

It’s a typical text message someone might receive from a friend or family member.

But what if that one message also came with a list of nearby theaters, a movie trailer and your friend’s schedule availability?

That’s what one new mobile application called Emu App can do.

Emu was one example of numerous cutting-edge resources shared by the CEO of Webbmedia Group, Amy Webb, at Saturday’s Online News Association event called “10 Tech Trends in Journalism.”

The Webbmedia Group is a digital strategy agency that focuses on near-term emerging technology trends. Webb offered her take on each trend and what the future may hold for them at her always popular ONA presentation. She also gave recommendations for how news organizations can best take advantage of the technology. 

The first trend that Webb highlighted is wearable technology, which has become popular with the emergence of Google Glass and smart watches.

“I think in the coming year, we are going to start seeing more of the 253 wearables that I started to describe come into the marketplace and become more mainstream,” Webb said. “At the moment these devices are not intended for content production … in the next three years, based on the research we have, I think that will change.”

Webb said as time goes on more people will become more comfortable with the devices.

“The more you wear these things and the more you think about content and doing your job, the more you will you start to gain some clarity around what can and can’t be done,” Webb said.

Another trend Webb discussed is Internet bots, or web robots, to help curate news.

Webb referenced a recent Los Angeles Times article on a California earthquake that was written by a bot. LA Times writer Ken Schwencke wrote the algorithm. Webb said bots could help support media outlets with limited resources and allows reporters to focus on more in-depth stories.

“This [is] a really, really smart way to think through newsrooms of the future,” Webb said. “What we’re talking about is curating selective content in order to create efficiencies for reporters.”

Her recommendation was for news organizations to look at ways to build a bot to help deliver information to the reader.

Webb also discussed digital security and privacy, which has been a major issue recently after some celebrities whose nude photos were leaked on the Internet.

One tool that Webb mentioned was the Black Phone, which allows you to communicate with people without being detected.

Webb said if journalists are worried about having their information leaked, they should experiment with encrypted email, to gain a better understanding of how encryption works.

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Here are Webb’s “10 Tech Trends in Journalism”:

  1. Wearables: Look beyond your wrist
  2. Behaviors devices: Focus on your consumer, not just her device
  3. Algorithmic Curation: Publication
  4. Algorithmic Curation: Reporting: Allow curation tools to help inform your reporting
  5. Cognitive Computing: Machine-aid researching will soon create big efficiencies for your consumers
  6. Ambient Proximity: Gather and publish content using your immediate surroundings
  7. Virtual Reality for News: Soon you’ll create immersive storytelling experiences
  8. Ephemeral Content: Everyone wants content that disappears
  9. Digital Security and Privacy: Go underground without disconnecting
  10. Rethinking Church v. State: It’s possible to protect the newsroom’s integrity while ensuring a growing audience for the new business

See Webb’s complete “10 Tech Trends in Journalism” presentation: