The year of minority media

“Despite hiring more minority writers, the power structure in legacy news organizations is still largely controlled by the same types of people.”

2017 will be the year we elevate minorities in news. I’m not predicting this because I’m an optimist (quite the opposite), but because it has to happen, for all of our sakes.

Let’s make 2017 the year we finally speak up for what we know to be true and stand up for the things we believe in. We need the right people in charge to ensure this is the case. We must elevate more minorities in newsrooms to positions of power and decision making.

katie-zhuThis year, we saw more underrepresented groups being hired as writers, making media, and finding their voice. We’ve seen and felt their presence other platforms — black teens made culture on Vine, black women fueled worldwide movements like Black Lives Matter, and #BlackTwitter showed up making memes, vernacular, and blessing us with things like the Mannequin Challenge. That value cannot be understated, but it’s also not enough. As the death of Vine has shown us, simply being an individual creator on a platform isn’t always enough, since you’re at the behest of the powers that be — and those powers are mostly always white.

Despite hiring more minority writers, the power structure in legacy news organizations is still largely controlled by the same types of people. We need more Dodai Stewarts, Lydia Polgreens, and Elaine Welteroths leading editorial teams. We as an industry must invest in black women, Latina women, Muslim women, Asian women, Native American women, members of the LGBT community, and more.

Teen Vogue has shown us the way. Their incisive political coverage has shocked many who believe the magazine to only cover the best hairstyles or nail polish for teen girls, but after Welteroth took over as editor in May, Teen Vogue’s editorial strategy was steered to tackle the heady topics of racism, feminism, activism, and the rest of the -isms, covering these topics better than most traditional news organizations. They’ve demonstrated that when a black woman is in charge and gives younger women the room to write what they believe in, good things happen.

The landscape of news is still dominated by a homogenous whiteness, especially as you ascend the ranks. So much of liberal white media was shocked at the outcome of the election, while minorities — like blacks and Muslims — have had enough lived experience in this country to know not to underestimate the allure of white supremacy.

We need more minorities in the news landscape of 2017 and beyond. But not as token identity politics writers, or the reporter who can cover Beyoncé or Ferguson with “authenticity.” Structural change must happen. In 2017, the news industry has to change the structure to support minorities, to elevate the work they do, to help them grow and translate their skills into a career, and to ascend to positions of leadership.

So on the one end, 2017 will bring us legacy news organizations who recognize this and make adjustments to their internal power structures. But we’ll also see more minority new media ventures, from people tired of chasing the seemingly always widening gap to the top levels of leadership. Not all of these will survive. And in an increasingly consolidated media landscape, it’s become harder and harder for anyone — not just minorities — to build and own their own companies. We as an industry must invest in marginalized groups, because minority-owned media provides an important balance to the mass market stuff, and the need for minority-owned news businesses to shape understanding and showcase different cultures is more profound than ever.

Readers need that nuance in perspective, we’ll come to rely on a more diversified cross section of news leadership that truly reflects the changing face of American society. Minorities leading news will celebrate, reflect, and shape culture, and cultural change is the precursor to political change.

Minorities are so wildly underestimated by the world at large. In 2017, we’ll see new editors, new leaders, new ventures challenging that preconception. Our future depends on it.

Katie Zhu is a product manager and engineer at Medium.

Alberto Cairo   Communicating uncertainty to our readers

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

Katie Zhu   The year of minority media

Peter Sterne   A dangerous anti-press mix

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Truthiness in private spaces

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

Mario Garcia   Virtual reality on mobile leaps forward

Sara M. Watson   There is no neutral interface

Guy Raz   Inspiration and hope will matter more than ever

Andrea Silenzi   Podcasts dive into breaking news analysis

Millie Tran   International expansion without colonial overtones

Rubina Madan Fillion   Snapchat grows up

David Skok   What lies beyond paywalls

Caitlin Thompson   High touch, high value

Michael Oreskes   Reversing the erosion of democracy

Liz McMillen   The year of deep insights

Ryan McCarthy   Platforms grow up or grow more toxic

Mark Armstrong   Time to pay up

Tim Griggs   The year we stop taking sides

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

Amy Webb   Journalism as a service

Sarah Marshall   Focusing on the why of the click

Zizi Papacharissi   Distracted journalism looks in the mirror

Ashley C. Woods   Local journalism will fight a new fight

Laura E. Davis   Show your work

Nicholas Quah   Podcasting’s coming class war

David Weigel   A test for online speech

Pablo Boczkowski   Fake news and the future of journalism

Ken Schwencke   Disaggregation and collection

Moreno Cruz Osório   The year of transparency in Brazilian journalism

Christopher Meighan   Unlocking a deeper mobile experience

Trushar Barot   API or die

Molly de Aguiar   Philanthropists galvanize around news

Mary Walter-Brown   Getting comfortable asking for money

Scott Dodd   Nonprofits team up for impact

Jon Slade   Trusted news, at a premium

Sam Ford   The year we talk about our awful metrics

Sarah Wolozin   Virtual reality on the open web

Laura Walker   Authentic voices, not fake news

Dan Colarusso   Let’s make live video we can love

Liz Danzico   The triumph of the small

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

Jim Friedlich   A banner year for venture philanthropy

Olivia Ma   The year collaboration beats competition

Errin Haines Whack   Chaos or community?

Erin Millar   The bottom falls out of Canadian media

Taylor Lorenz   “Selfie journalism” becomes a thing

Ståle Grut   The battle for high-quality VR

Coleen O'Lear   Back to basics

Tim Herrera   The safe space of service journalism

Nathalie Malinarich   Making it easy

Melody Kramer   Radically rethinking design

Asma Khalid   The year of the newsy podcast

Rachel Schallom   Stop flying over the flyover states

Libby Bawcombe   Kids board the podcast train

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

Bill Adair   The year of the fact-checking bot

Alexis Lloyd   Public trust for private realities

Lee Glendinning   A call for great editing

Michael Kuntz   Trust is the new click

Ariane Bernard   Better data about your users

Sydette Harry   Facing journalism’s history

Renée Kaplan   Pure reach has reached its limit

Mary Meehan   Feeling blue in a red state

Jonathan Hunt   Measurement companies get with the times

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

Juan Luis Sánchez   Your predictions are our present

Jeremy Barr   A terrible year for Tiers B through D

Javaun Moradi   What can we own?

Dannagal G. Young   The return of the gatekeepers

Amy O'Leary   Not just covering communities, reaching them

Vivian Schiller   Tested like never before

Amie Ferris-Rotman   Вслед за Россией

Samantha Barry   Messaging apps go mainstream

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

Megan H. Chan   Cultural reporting goes mainstream

Kawandeep Virdee   Moving deeper than the machine of clicks

Andrew Losowsky   Building our own communities

Felix Salmon   Headlines matter

Geetika Rudra   Journalism is community

Dhiya Kuriakose   The year of digital detoxing

Francesco Marconi   The year of augmented writing

Emily Goligoski   Incorporating audience feedback at scale

Doris Truong   Connecting with diverse perspectives

Umbreen Bhatti   A sense of journalists’ humanity

Mathew Ingram   The Faustian Facebook dance continues

Mira Lowe   News literacy, bias, and “Hamilton”

Aja Bogdanoff   Comments start pulling their weight

M. Scott Havens   Quality advertising to pair with quality content

Keren Goldshlager   Defining a focus, and then saying no

Swati Sharma   Failing diversity is failing journalism

Juliette De Maeyer and Dominique Trudel   A rebirth of populist journalism

Carrie Brown-Smith   We won’t do enough

Annemarie Dooling   UGC as a path out of the bubble

Julia Beizer   Building a coherent core identity

Bill Keller   A healthy skepticism about data

Steve Henn   The next revolution is voice

Ray Soto   VR moves from experiments to immersion

Matt Waite   The people running the media are the problem

Joanne Lipman   The year of the drone, really

Tanya Cordrey   The resurgence of reach

Hillary Frey   Forests need to burn to regrow

Gabriel Snyder   The aberration of 20th-century journalism

Rachel Sklar   Women are going to get loud

Robert Hernandez   History will exclude you, again

Mandy Velez   The audience is the source and the story

Priya Ganapati   Mobile websites are ready for reinvention

Matt Karolian   AI improves publishing

P. Kim Bui   The year journalism teaches again

Helen Havlak   Chasing mobile search results

Almar Latour   Thanks, #fakenews

Dan Gillmor   Fix the demand side of news too

Corey Ford   The year of the rebelpreneur

Reyhan Harmanci   Bear witness — but then what?

Elizabeth Jensen   Trust depends on the details

Alice Antheaume   A new test for French media

Jonathan Stray   A boom in responsible conservative media

David Chavern   Fake news gets solved

Cindy Royal   Preparing the digital educator-scholar hybrid

Kathleen Kingsbury   Print as a premium offering

Burt Herman   Local news gets interesting

Ole Reißmann   Un-faking the news

Andrew Haeg   The year of listening

Andy Rossback   The year of the user

S.P. Sullivan   Baking transparency into our routines

Mike Ragsdale   A smarter information diet

Tracie Powell   Building reader relationships

Rebekah Monson   Journalism is community-as-a-service

Erin Pettigrew   A year of reflection in tech

Emi Kolawole   From empathy to community

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

Margarita Noriega   From pinning tweets to tweeting pins

Carla Zanoni   Prioritizing emotional health

Andrew Ramsammy   Rise of the rebel journalist

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting stratifies into hard layers

Cory Haik   Navigating power in Trump’s America

Sue Schardt   Objectivity, fairness, balance, and love

Claire Wardle   Verification takes center stage

An Xiao Mina   2017 is for the attention innovators

Adam Thomas   The coming collaboration across Europe