News Futures 2035

This is the News Futures 2035 logo, with the project name written in black writing, on a blue background that fades to pink.

The News Futures 2035 foresight project is a response to concerns about the future of public-interest news in the UK. 

Launched in October 2022, the 18-month project has brought together hundreds of experts from inside, outside and alongside the news industry who worked together to imagine, and create, a better future.

Read the News Futures 2035 final report

The participatory action-research project was initiated by Dr François Nel at the Media Innovation Studio (MIS) at the University of Central Lancashire, with Dr Kamila Rymajdo as the Post-Doctoral Researcher.

Why is the project important?

After many years of change and struggle, we believe we’re at a turning point in the future – and history – of news. 

Ultimately, many have a dystopian vision – where the provision of trusted news is lost – and where people are vulnerable to false information, disengaged or avoid news altogether. It may be that we are not currently able to give communities what they want or need – but if our audiences switch off – we know the public interest is not being served. 

How was the research carried out?

More than 300 thought leaders from media, policy, regulation, civil society and academia contributed through expert interviews, surveys, workshops, and multiple consultations.

A core group of around 30 participants took part in a series of sessions, where they were asked to consider a number of potential future scenarios and their impact on public-interest news.

Participants were also asked to contribute their current understanding of this issue to a scene-setting paper by Dr François Nel, Jeremy Clifford and Jonathan Heawood, as well as a Delphi Expert Panel convened to complement the event series.

Watch a video recap of the roundtables

The methodology helped us consider alternative scenarios, develop new visions and catalyse better relationships, all focused on the question: How can the supply of trustworthy public-interest news in the UK be secured? 

While our primary focus has been on public-interest news in the UK, we believe what have learned will be relevant further afield, not least because the British media has often led the way.

News Futures 2035 definition of public-interest news

Key recommendation

The creation of a multi-disciplinary News Futures Forum that would create a united front of stakeholders with very different perspectives to tackle the challenges facing the provision of trustworthy public-interest news.

A News Futures Forum would:

– Create new relationships across the news industry and beyond.

– Remove unnecessary duplication between stakeholders.

– Build a shared understanding between policymakers and experts on the ground, making policy interventions more likely to succeed.

– Shape an ongoing conversation between news providers and their audiences, so that public-interest news genuinely meets the public’s needs.

– Remove the walls that divide news industry leaders from activists, journalists from academics, and technologists from regulators.

Other challenges raised by the research include:

– The need to rebuild trust in news media and combat news avoidance.

– Unequal access to technology needed for the public to stay informed by the news.

– A need for improved media literacy among news producers, public servants and the general public.

– Inadequate funding for public-interest news.

– The concentration of news media ownership.

– A shortfall in the diversity of journalists.

The role played by news producers and distributors both as contributors to climate change and crucial players in addressing it.

Stay updated

If you would like to be kept up to date on the News Futures 2035 project, please express your interest via this short form.

Principal investigator: 

Dr François Nel, Reader in Media Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Media Innovation Studio (MIS)

Post-Doctoral Researcher:

Dr Kamila Rymajdo, Media Innovation Studio (MIS)

With additional research by:

Jeremy Clifford, Director, Chrysalis Transformations

Jonathan Heawood, Executive Director, Public Interest News Foundation


Consortium steering group

Jeremy Clifford, Director, Chrysalis Transformations

Alison Gow, Editorial Consultant and Fellow of the Society of Editors

Jonathan Heawood, Executive Director, Public Interest News Foundation

Alan Hunter, Co-founder, HBM Advisory

Lisa MacLeod, Director, Head of EMEA, FT Strategies

Emma Meese, Director, Independent Community News Network (ICNN)

Inga Thordar, Chief External Relations Officer, Ocean Born Foundation

Laura Zelenko, Senior Executive Editor, Bloomberg News


Project advisors

Dr Bruno Tindemans, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Chief Foresight Officer for the government Department of Works in Brussels

Alain Wouters, Strategy Consultant, formerly of the group planning department at Shell

Consortium:

Bloomberg
Chrysalis Transformations
Digital Editors Network
HMB Advisory
Independent Community News Network
Media Innovation Studio, University of Central Lancashire
Public Interest News Foundation
Reach Plc

Supporters:

Google News Initiative

Announcements:

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