Building a coherent core identity

“Our consumers know us by the design choices we make, the frequency and character of our push alerts, what we do on social, how we monetize, how we market, and which technologies and platforms we choose to pursue.”

The last few years have been a hell of a ride for people who sit at the intersection of news and technology. We’ve expanded to new platforms. We’ve experimented with new devices. We’ve tried new storytelling concepts and found ways to leverage our communities for good.

julia-beizerThe bigger! better! faster! more! thrill of it all is exhilarating — and gives me a lot of hope for all of the avenues for news in the brave new world. But lately, I find myself drawn back to the homefront, focused on one question:

How can I bottle our core identity as a brand and have its essence shine through all of our experiences, off-platform and on?

Voice was once solely an editorial endeavor. Decisions about what to cover and how to cover it defined a news organization’s identity. But today, what we have to say is only one part of who we are. Our consumers know us by the design choices we make, the frequency and character of our push alerts, what we do on social, how we monetize, how we market, and which technologies and platforms we choose to pursue.

These aren’t just product, distribution, or strategy decisions. Together, all of these add up to our identity, our voice in the world where our consumers find us. For too many years, these very real choices were afterthoughts in a lot of news organizations, decisions we made passively when we couldn’t resource some opportunity or another.

In 2017, let’s own these choices actively. It’s time to center ourselves on what we want our unique organizations to be and how we aim to serve our audiences. We have years of experimentation at our backs and the wisdom to know the game will keep changing. But a coherence of identity throughout all of the decisions we make will help our brands mean something in the minds of our audiences. Meaning something is the first step to being vital. And being vital is essential if we want our voices to endure.

Julia Beizer is head of product at The Huffington Post.

Jonathan Hunt   Measurement companies get with the times

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   News after advertising may look like news before advertising

Steve Henn   The next revolution is voice

Mathew Ingram   The Faustian Facebook dance continues

Jon Slade   Trusted news, at a premium

Amy O'Leary   Not just covering communities, reaching them

Amie Ferris-Rotman   Вслед за Россией

Almar Latour   Thanks, #fakenews

Annemarie Dooling   UGC as a path out of the bubble

Mary Walter-Brown   Getting comfortable asking for money

Hillary Frey   Forests need to burn to regrow

Ashley C. Woods   Local journalism will fight a new fight

Alice Antheaume   A new test for French media

Francesco Marconi   The year of augmented writing

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting stratifies into hard layers

Ken Schwencke   Disaggregation and collection

Juliette De Maeyer and Dominique Trudel   A rebirth of populist journalism

Rebekah Monson   Journalism is community-as-a-service

Tracie Powell   Building reader relationships

Bill Adair   The year of the fact-checking bot

Rachel Sklar   Women are going to get loud

Melody Kramer   Radically rethinking design

Sarah Marshall   Focusing on the why of the click

Liz Danzico   The triumph of the small

David Chavern   Fake news gets solved

Michael Oreskes   Reversing the erosion of democracy

Maria Bustillos   “It’s true — I saw it on Facebook”

Alberto Cairo   Communicating uncertainty to our readers

Priya Ganapati   Mobile websites are ready for reinvention

Andrew Haeg   The year of listening

Robert Hernandez   History will exclude you, again

Scott Dodd   Nonprofits team up for impact

Doris Truong   Connecting with diverse perspectives

Ray Soto   VR moves from experiments to immersion

Liz McMillen   The year of deep insights

Tressie McMillan Cottom   A path through the media’s coming legitimacy crisis

Jeremy Barr   A terrible year for Tiers B through D

Matt Karolian   AI improves publishing

Joanne Lipman   The year of the drone, really

Kathleen Kingsbury   Print as a premium offering

Helen Havlak   Chasing mobile search results

Erin Pettigrew   A year of reflection in tech

Anita Zielina   The sales funnel reaches (and changes) the newsroom

Amy Webb   Journalism as a service

Mark Armstrong   Time to pay up

Javaun Moradi   What can we own?

Felix Salmon   Headlines matter

Vivian Schiller   Tested like never before

Jonathan Stray   A boom in responsible conservative media

Samantha Barry   Messaging apps go mainstream

Peter Sterne   A dangerous anti-press mix

Mike Ragsdale   A smarter information diet

Aja Bogdanoff   Comments start pulling their weight

Sarah Wolozin   Virtual reality on the open web

Christopher Meighan   Unlocking a deeper mobile experience

Elizabeth Jensen   Trust depends on the details

Alexis Lloyd   Public trust for private realities

Andy Rossback   The year of the user

Andrew Losowsky   Building our own communities

An Xiao Mina   2017 is for the attention innovators

Andrew Ramsammy   Rise of the rebel journalist

Richard J. Tofel   The country doesn’t trust us — but they do believe us

Mary Meehan   Feeling blue in a red state

Cindy Royal   Preparing the digital educator-scholar hybrid

Olivia Ma   The year collaboration beats competition

Ryan McCarthy   Platforms grow up or grow more toxic

Claire Wardle   Verification takes center stage

Michael Kuntz   Trust is the new click

Errin Haines Whack   Chaos or community?

Tim Griggs   The year we stop taking sides

Burt Herman   Local news gets interesting

Bill Keller   A healthy skepticism about data

Juan Luis Sánchez   Your predictions are our present

Umbreen Bhatti   A sense of journalists’ humanity

Molly de Aguiar   Philanthropists galvanize around news

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Earn trust by working for (and with) readers

Andrea Silenzi   Podcasts dive into breaking news analysis

Reyhan Harmanci   Bear witness — but then what?

Ariane Bernard   Better data about your users

Moreno Cruz Osório   The year of transparency in Brazilian journalism

Caitlin Thompson   High touch, high value

Katie Zhu   The year of minority media

Keren Goldshlager   Defining a focus, and then saying no

Mario García   Virtual reality on mobile leaps forward

Swati Sharma   Failing diversity is failing journalism

P. Kim Bui   The year journalism teaches again

Carrie Brown-Smith   We won’t do enough

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Truthiness in private spaces

Geetika Rudra   Journalism is community

Dannagal G. Young   The return of the gatekeepers

Mandy Velez   The audience is the source and the story

Rachel Schallom   Stop flying over the flyover states

Dhiya Kuriakose   The year of digital detoxing

Nicholas Quah   Podcasting’s coming class war

Tim Herrera   The safe space of service journalism

Rubina Madan Fillion   Snapchat grows up

Emily Goligoski   Incorporating audience feedback at scale

Adam Thomas   The coming collaboration across Europe

Mira Lowe   News literacy, bias, and “Hamilton”

Jim Friedlich   A banner year for venture philanthropy

Lam Thuy Vo   The primary source in the age of mechanical multiplication

Erin Millar   The bottom falls out of Canadian media

S.P. Sullivan   Baking transparency into our routines

Guy Raz   Inspiration and hope will matter more than ever

Coleen O'Lear   Back to basics

Asma Khalid   The year of the newsy podcast

Gabriel Snyder   The aberration of 20th-century journalism

Dan Colarusso   Let’s make live video we can love

Nushin Rashidian   A rise in high-price, high-value subscriptions

Tanya Cordrey   The resurgence of reach

Kawandeep Virdee   Moving deeper than the machine of clicks

Trushar Barot   API or die

Renée Kaplan   Pure reach has reached its limit

David Weigel   A test for online speech

Megan H. Chan   Cultural reporting goes mainstream

Libby Bawcombe   Kids board the podcast train

Laura Walker   Authentic voices, not fake news

Pablo Boczkowski   Fake news and the future of journalism

Cory Haik   Navigating power in Trump’s America

M. Scott Havens   Quality advertising to pair with quality content

Margarita Noriega   From pinning tweets to tweeting pins

Dan Gillmor   Fix the demand side of news too

Ole Reißmann   Un-faking the news

Carla Zanoni   Prioritizing emotional health

Sam Ford   The year we talk about our awful metrics

Nathalie Malinarich   Making it easy

Ståle Grut   The battle for high-quality VR

Millie Tran   International expansion without colonial overtones

Emi Kolawole   From empathy to community

Taylor Lorenz   “Selfie journalism” becomes a thing

Sydette Harry   Facing journalism’s history

Corey Ford   The year of the rebelpreneur

Sue Schardt   Objectivity, fairness, balance, and love

Matt Waite   The people running the media are the problem

Laura E. Davis   Show your work

Sara M. Watson   There is no neutral interface

Zizi Papacharissi   Distracted journalism looks in the mirror

David Skok   What lies beyond paywalls

Lee Glendinning   A call for great editing

Julia Beizer   Building a coherent core identity