SXSW 2023

How to Cover Futures


Journalism is often described as the first draft of history. But it strives to frame the future. Journalists deal in a constant stream of predictions, promises, and forecasts, yet often address times to come in damaging ways: extrapolating linearly from current events, without much attempt to understand the full range of possibilities; outsourcing statements about the future to pundits and experts with little accountability for or follow-up on claims that turn out to be false; and giving far more weight to past events than to future possibilities in coverage. So what might a journalism look like that took the future seriously –– and playfully? How might we embrace both rigor and imagination as part of our responsibilities? In short, how do we cover the future?

Related Media


  1. What reporters and editors can learn from the most experienced practitioners of foresight / how to develop futures literacy
  2. Where stories often go awry in anticipating futures
  3. How better reporting on futures can foster better journalism, more public trust in news organizations, and more representation of marginalized voices



Matt Thompson, Editor, Headway, The New York Times

Meta Information:

  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Presentation
  • Track: Media Industry
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate

Add Comments

comments powered by Disqus

SXSW reserves the right to restrict access to or availability of comments related to PanelPicker proposals that it considers objectionable.