Goodbye 2014 – Hello 2015
Rather than look back, I thought perhaps a way to start 2015 was to look forward and see some of the fun that might be to come. So here are 10 big media things to keep an eye on:
1. Local Television
2014 ended with a big shuffle. Sinclair Broadcast Group took the reins of WJLA and longtime news director/station guru Bill Lord headed out that door and straight up Wisconsin to the ailing WUSA. Can he repeat his magic farther up the dial? How will WJLA fare under new ownership with a news operation that takes its marching orders from a centralized news hierarchy?
2. The Washington Post
There’s a lot of new energy now that the Age of Bezos has dawned. New culture, new publisher (Fred Ryan, the former general from WJLA and Politico) and new building will generate plenty of armchair analysis.
3. Social Media Bloopers
What will be the next great faux pas to enliven our humdrum lives? It’s been a while since a Weiner popped up, and everyone has now learned that you don’t dis the Obama gals. But it is the gift that keeps on giving. More to come, guaranteed.
4. Radical Fundamentalists
What will they come up with next in their unfortunately very effective media strategy, and will legitimate governments finally figure out a way to counteract them?
5. Net Neutrality
This is the single most important issue facing anybody who uses the internet for anything. The outcome, to be decided this year, will define all our worlds.
6. Hometown Machiavellis
Will Frank Underwood and Olivia Pope, the lead characters of the shows “House of Cards” and “Scandal,” continue to give us Washingtonian the guilty pleasure of thinking that we are indeed smarter than everyone else (oh, come on, don’t deny it)?
7. The New Republic
TNR is dead, long live TNR. Can the Facebook-billionaire owner really reinvent the icon of American liberalism after its very public self-immolation at the close of 2014?
President Obama joked last year that CNN was in search of its dignity. The big question for 2015 is whether it can find its identity. The Network of Record has been best known more recently for its endless coverage of events long after there is nothing to say (along with the uninformed wanderings of a misanthropic cook).
9. Voice of America
Less on the radar but still important: What is the future of VOA? Elements in Congress seem intent on making it a propaganda agency, while the journalists who work there are committed to journalism. The venerable agency’s survival is by no means assured.
Finally, the biggest and most pressing unknown in all of American media for 2015: Colbert. What will he look like now that he has shed his Comedy Central persona and moved into his new CBS chair? And just as important, can he challenge the Grand Wizard of Late Night, Jimmy Fallon?
ATM is all a-Twitter to see (or at least something social).