Not just covering communities, reaching them

“Journalists will finally dig in to understand how their stories travel in our information ecosystem.”

Do you know how to get into the feed of a reader who distrusts, or hates, your news organization?

amy-olearyMany of us in the digital trenches of news have been engaged in a street fight for human attention for some time now. But that street fight has recently turned into something more consequential, more militarized.

It’s no coincidence that in the wash of fake news that emerged during the election, one of the alt-reality sites that buoyed our president-elect to victory is called Infowars. Their slogan: “There’s a war on for your mind!”

Indeed. The explosion of fact-check journalism was supposed to be a curative for these trends. It’s now somewhat clearer to most that facts aren’t enough to move people in an age of information saturation, distribution of news is an art that left the “front page” behind several years ago, and many people will reject uncomfortable facts when more pleasing and affirming “content” is available at the touch of a finger — in unlimited supply.

Placing true stories, engineered to exist in those feeds, will be essential work in the year ahead. Journalism is hard, honorable work with a simple mission: report what is true, fairly. While this mission remains essential and unchanged, 2017 will be the year when the best practitioners of the craft will wake to see that this mission has a new mandate: Journalists will finally dig in to understand how their stories travel in our information ecosystem, and will respond with new strategies to not only cover diverse groups and ideologies, but to reach them as well.

If facts fade, stories stick. Bigger narratives cling to the mind’s scaffolding in a way that isolated bits of data do not. In 2017, journalism will not only need to work harder to frame those narratives for readers, but the creators of that journalism will need to work harder at reaching all manner of people — technically, structurally and emotionally — if they hope to have a voice that matters.

Amy O’Leary is chief story officer at Upworthy.

Emi Kolawole   From empathy to community

Erin Millar   The bottom falls out of Canadian media

Dan Gillmor   Fix the demand side of news too

Robert Hernandez   History will exclude you, again

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

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting stratifies into hard layers

Felix Salmon   Headlines matter

Christopher Meighan   Unlocking a deeper mobile experience

Julia Beizer   Building a coherent core identity

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

Gabriel Snyder   The aberration of 20th-century journalism

Zizi Papacharissi   Distracted journalism looks in the mirror

Rachel Sklar   Women are going to get loud

Carrie Brown-Smith   We won’t do enough

Rachel Schallom   Stop flying over the flyover states

Peter Sterne   A dangerous anti-press mix

Dhiya Kuriakose   The year of digital detoxing

Elizabeth Jensen   Trust depends on the details

Ryan McCarthy   Platforms grow up or grow more toxic

Lee Glendinning   A call for great editing

Doris Truong   Connecting with diverse perspectives

Bill Keller   A healthy skepticism about data

Pablo Boczkowski   Fake news and the future of journalism

Amy O'Leary   Not just covering communities, reaching them

Melody Kramer   Radically rethinking design

Mario García   Virtual reality on mobile leaps forward

Nicholas Quah   Podcasting’s coming class war

Dan Colarusso   Let’s make live video we can love

Carla Zanoni   Prioritizing emotional health

Trushar Barot   API or die

Jonathan Hunt   Measurement companies get with the times

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

Megan H. Chan   Cultural reporting goes mainstream

Ken Schwencke   Disaggregation and collection

Erin Pettigrew   A year of reflection in tech

Ashley C. Woods   Local journalism will fight a new fight

Claire Wardle   Verification takes center stage

Nathalie Malinarich   Making it easy

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

Mandy Velez   The audience is the source and the story

Rubina Madan Fillion   Snapchat grows up

Steve Henn   The next revolution is voice

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

Cory Haik   Navigating power in Trump’s America

Jon Slade   Trusted news, at a premium

Andrew Haeg   The year of listening

Burt Herman   Local news gets interesting

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

Tracie Powell   Building reader relationships

S.P. Sullivan   Baking transparency into our routines

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Truthiness in private spaces

Michael Kuntz   Trust is the new click

Jonathan Stray   A boom in responsible conservative media

Coleen O'Lear   Back to basics

Juan Luis Sánchez   Your predictions are our present

Libby Bawcombe   Kids board the podcast train

Keren Goldshlager   Defining a focus, and then saying no

Guy Raz   Inspiration and hope will matter more than ever

Emily Goligoski   Incorporating audience feedback at scale

Matt Waite   The people running the media are the problem

Alexis Lloyd   Public trust for private realities

Sue Schardt   Objectivity, fairness, balance, and love

Bill Adair   The year of the fact-checking bot

An Xiao Mina   2017 is for the attention innovators

M. Scott Havens   Quality advertising to pair with quality content

Katie Zhu   The year of minority media

Ariane Bernard   Better data about your users

Michael Oreskes   Reversing the erosion of democracy

David Chavern   Fake news gets solved

Taylor Lorenz   “Selfie journalism” becomes a thing

Joanne Lipman   The year of the drone, really

Sarah Marshall   Focusing on the why of the click

Alberto Cairo   Communicating uncertainty to our readers

Rebekah Monson   Journalism is community-as-a-service

Amie Ferris-Rotman   Вслед за Россией

Mike Ragsdale   A smarter information diet

David Weigel   A test for online speech

Moreno Cruz Osório   The year of transparency in Brazilian journalism

Ståle Grut   The battle for high-quality VR

Millie Tran   International expansion without colonial overtones

Andrew Ramsammy   Rise of the rebel journalist

Mary Walter-Brown   Getting comfortable asking for money

Tim Griggs   The year we stop taking sides

Sydette Harry   Facing journalism’s history

Errin Haines Whack   Chaos or community?

Priya Ganapati   Mobile websites are ready for reinvention

Scott Dodd   Nonprofits team up for impact

Sara M. Watson   There is no neutral interface

David Skok   What lies beyond paywalls

Tanya Cordrey   The resurgence of reach

Helen Havlak   Chasing mobile search results

Amy Webb   Journalism as a service

Tim Herrera   The safe space of service journalism

Laura Walker   Authentic voices, not fake news

Vivian Schiller   Tested like never before

Laura E. Davis   Show your work

Ray Soto   VR moves from experiments to immersion

Corey Ford   The year of the rebelpreneur

Andrew Losowsky   Building our own communities

Javaun Moradi   What can we own?

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

Andy Rossback   The year of the user

Hillary Frey   Forests need to burn to regrow

Matt Karolian   AI improves publishing

Alice Antheaume   A new test for French media

Annemarie Dooling   UGC as a path out of the bubble

Mathew Ingram   The Faustian Facebook dance continues

Jeremy Barr   A terrible year for Tiers B through D

Molly de Aguiar   Philanthropists galvanize around news

Mary Meehan   Feeling blue in a red state

Andrea Silenzi   Podcasts dive into breaking news analysis

Kawandeep Virdee   Moving deeper than the machine of clicks

Sarah Wolozin   Virtual reality on the open web

Liz McMillen   The year of deep insights

Almar Latour   Thanks, #fakenews

Liz Danzico   The triumph of the small

Francesco Marconi   The year of augmented writing

Renée Kaplan   Pure reach has reached its limit

Olivia Ma   The year collaboration beats competition

Margarita Noriega   From pinning tweets to tweeting pins

Sam Ford   The year we talk about our awful metrics

Jim Friedlich   A banner year for venture philanthropy

Mark Armstrong   Time to pay up

Asma Khalid   The year of the newsy podcast

Ole Reißmann   Un-faking the news

Juliette De Maeyer and Dominique Trudel   A rebirth of populist journalism

Dannagal G. Young   The return of the gatekeepers

Samantha Barry   Messaging apps go mainstream

Caitlin Thompson   High touch, high value

Adam Thomas   The coming collaboration across Europe

Umbreen Bhatti   A sense of journalists’ humanity

Swati Sharma   Failing diversity is failing journalism

Aja Bogdanoff   Comments start pulling their weight

P. Kim Bui   The year journalism teaches again

Reyhan Harmanci   Bear witness — but then what?

Geetika Rudra   Journalism is community

Kathleen Kingsbury   Print as a premium offering

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

Cindy Royal   Preparing the digital educator-scholar hybrid

Mira Lowe   News literacy, bias, and “Hamilton”