Our 2019 challenges: Voice, Visual Journalism and Verification


Next year, our profession will have to overcome a VVV challenge: Voice, Visual Journalism and Verification.

1. Voice and Voice AI are the obvious topics for 2019. All the editors who we met in the last six months have become captivated with smart speakers offered by Amazon, Google and Apple. There are already 47 million smart speakers next to people’s couches in the United States, and there are 220 million adults in the country. According to Chartbeat, this number could double in the next six months. It means this mass phenomenon will very soon have a serious impact on how news will be consumed. Who will be the winners of this new battle? Big conglomerates, local news providers, or infotainment companies? What will the speed of adoption be in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa? It seems obvious that countries with strong public or private broadcasters will be at the top of the evolution, but what about new agile players?


2.  Visual journalism – and video – will be our second challenge. Kevin Delaney, Quartz editor, said that we’re entering ‘the golden age of video journalism’, an idea that we are taking very seriously, even if the ‘pivot to video’ strategy failed for some media organisations. It means YouTube videos will lose their current monopoly in the upcoming years. Think about the new wave of live events, anticipate news shows on Facebook Watch and very soon on Netflix, imagine new formats based on vertical or square videos on Snap and Instagram. 2019 will be the year of new storytelling methods based on a real integration of text, sound, video and data-viz. New software will help us to conceive new ways of telling stories, as well as AR experiments on your smartphones or new devices such as smart glasses or smart watches.


3. Verification will be the third challenge. Journalists will continue to fight misinformation, propaganda, and rumours, especially as disputed general elections are coming up in several countries in the coming year. This without forgeting the European elections at the end of May, three weeks before our Athens conference. Rather than just producing news, journalists must today verify and control what happens on social media and closed messaging apps. At the GEN Summit, verification will not be limited to fact-checking, it will have a broader sense because the accumulation of fake news is undermining our democracies and is distracting citizens to vote and to defend democratic values.


Regarding the day-to-day programme from Thursday 13, to Saturday 15 June 2019, a first draft will be announced shortly. As for now, we are working on the following sessions:



– Influencers vs. Media: are they frenemies?
– Journalism goes to Hollywood
– The tokenisation of news: can blockchain help journalism?
– Towards the first automated newsrooms
– Why news apps work so well (for the user and the publisher)
– From messaging apps to conversational journalism
– Personalisation vs. Privacy
– How to schedule alerts and push notifications
– More podcasts with more smart speakers?
– How to monetize live-streamed news shows
– Time to regulate platforms?
– AI for small newsrooms
– The impact of audience fragmentation
– Will non-profit news organisations and member-funded journalism overtake for-profit legacy media
– The future of cloud journalism (collaboration, security, etc.)



We value your help in shaping this conference, so please reach out to us if you have any suggestions for speakers, sessions and new formats of interaction with the audience.


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The 2019 Speakers

The GEN Summit brings to stage a host of diverse speakers, who are at the forefront of journalism, media, and technology, to share their ideas and challenge the future of news.

The GEN Summit brings to stage a host of diverse speakers, who are at the forefront of journalism, media, and technology, to share their ideas and challenge the future of news.

Revisit the GEN Summit 2018

Watch a selection of sessions from the GEN Summit 2018

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