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Let’s take just a few minutes to remember 2020 — a year many people can’t wait to forget.
Our list of the 15 most popular stories we published here at the Knight-Cronkite News Lab reflects a memorable mix of innovation, experimentation, and introspection, as local TV newsrooms stretched to meet new and ongoing challenges.
Our most-read story was our first of the year: Frank Mungeam’s list of “culture-killing” phrases newsrooms should stop using in 2020. Well, by spring, every newsroom in America HAD to stop using this one:
The pandemic rewrote the rules of newsgathering and production and touched off an unprecedented wave of creative innovation — not to mention boosting audiences for local news.
COVID-19 also inspired new forms of public service, with projects like Scripps’s The Rebound designed to deepen the connection between newsrooms and their communities.
But of course the pandemic wasn’t the year’s only big story. The killing of George Floyd and the movement for racial justice inspired thoughtful newsroom conversations about how to cover the protests and the inequities that sparked them — and the role of “objectivity” and “authenticity” among a rising generation of young journalists.
Along the way, newsrooms continued to experiment with new technology, like the setup that allows anchors at Cleveland’s WOIO to produce their own breaking-news coverage from the newsroom.
And stations around the country challenged conventional formats and formulas. Portland’s WGN reimagined the 6 p.m. news with The Story with Dan