In December, our team reflected on the significant shifts that impacted our world in big ways over the last 10 years. Now that we’re in the swing of the new year — and decade — we’re looking ahead and attempting to predict what’s coming. How will the media landscape change? What’s in store for social media? Will AI and the machines take over? (Nope, but they will continue to impact how we work and live.) There’s no way to forecast with absolute certainty what our industry will look like or how we’ll operate within in it come 2030, but here are some of the changes we should expect, and hope, to see in the next decade.

On Publishing and Media

I hope to see more niche publications thrive in 2020. It’s understandable that publishing companies and news organizations will continue to merge in today’s challenging media environment, but smaller, more niche publications need to hold their own. They’re valuable; they offer nuanced and detailed insights to their readers rather than surface-level commentary that appeals to broader demographics. As media companies continue to consolidate, they should carefully consider keeping the identities and brands of beloved publications intact. — Keya Balar, Senior Associate

Moving into the coming decade, I expect (and hope) to see a more measured approach to journalism (less sensationalism, perhaps?) and more thoughtful analysis of issues with, ideally, less criticism of the other side of any debate and more listening. This is how we come together and move forward, or at least find some common ground or increased level of tolerance. I believe the media will have a lot do with how that plays out. But of course, the media remains a business and it will operate as businesses always have: to generate profit. — Ned Ward, Senior Vice President

On Social Media

Social media will continue to impact the veracity of news reporting. My hope is that regulations and oversight bring back a commitment to fact finding and common sense, especially on social media. — Dan Masi, Account Executive, Stern Speakers

Social media is ever evolving and that won’t end in the new decade. Who would have thought social media would be such a BIG thing? I’ve grown up with social media and have essentially “lived” the ways in which it’s rapidly changed and impacted all aspects of life, and now work. The sky’s the limit for social media. — Justine Strzepek, Assistant Associate

On Flexibility

I expect to see a swing back to more companies offering work-from-home and flexible work hours opportunities as the workplace responds to a growing gig-economy, which by its very nature, is more flexible. While we are currently seeing states trying to curtail freelance and gig-driven work to meet payroll tax participation expectations, I believe the demand for this type of work in a very tight labor market will increase, and states and freelancers will work out ways in which their competing needs can be met. — Eveline Brownstein, Director, Human Resources

On Technology

For the 2020s, I expect there will be a greater emphasis on value-adding, non-administrative work in the profession. As new technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI), become more commonplace across businesses, automated services will assume certain repetitive, rote tasks. From the hard-copy reading and physical “clipping” of newspapers, to Google Alerts and the automated, digital finding and sharing of media placements, technology changed how we “media monitor.” That’s just one example. I anticipate we’ll see many similar shifts in the next decade. The automation of repetitive responsibilities is inevitable, and perhaps welcome. — Jon Spilletti, Assistant Associate

I expect AI and AR (augmented reality) will become integrated into everyday life and business. And I hope that transition is meaningful. — Ryan Hedlund, Account Executive, Stern Speakers

On Podcasts

Podcasts will become an even bigger part of a company’s brand strategy in the decade ahead. Because podcasts are an “on the go” medium, for media platforms specifically, (daily) podcasts will eclipse other means of reaching target audiences. I expect podcasts will replace things like the daily newsletters and potentially, long-form written articles. There will be more “live” podcasts that, when combined with social media, will merge to become unscripted and truly socialized experiences for listeners. They’ll also be used to mobilize large groups around social causes. — Tara Baumgarten, Senior Vice President

Change is inevitable. As we move fast into the next decade, what changes do you expect, and hope, to see in PR and marketing over the next 10 years? Share your thoughts with us on social media @sternstrategy.

For nearly 15 years, Jen Zottola has helped bring clients’ stories to life – through media opportunities, digital and marketing content, executive presentations, employee communications and more. Fusing creativity with strategy, she crafts compelling, award-winning copy proven to reach and resonate with the right audiences in the most impactful ways. As editorial director, Jen collaborates with clients and account teams to provide counsel on messaging and voice, as well as writing and editing support. Her creativity isn’t reserved only for writing; Jen also gets a kick out of party- and event planning.