Revenue-first journalism

“No newsroom will launch a new initiative without having a clear plan for its financial sustainability.”

2018 brings a focus to revenue-first journalism, broader and stronger efforts to drive trust in news, and simple, short content and distribution formats.

  • Revenue first: Mobile-first strategies will continue to be vital to reach audiences, and the low cost of innovation will continue to allow for low-risk experimentation, but the focus for new journalism projects will be revenue-first. No newsroom will launch a new initiative without having a clear plan for its financial sustainability. Legacy newsrooms and start-ups will deal with it in their own ways, i.e., The New York Times cutting its free articles limit from 10 to 5 per month to drive subscriptions, and Axios focusing on owning a specific audience and diversifying its sources of revenue by selling sponsorships, ads, and events.
  • Trust: News organizations, foundations, and nonprofits will embark on major efforts to drive and strengthen trust in journalism and news brands. In a context in which the president attacks the credibility of news organizations on a daily basis, we will see more efforts that range from slogans like The Washington Post’s “Democracy Dies in Darkness” to The Trust Project, which aims to create standards of transparency in journalism to build a trusted press. We will also see more investments in bulletproof reporting. All trust efforts will highlight two elements: clarity and engagement. Clarity in the form of explainers, reporter bios, a clear differentiation between reporting and opinion, and making ethics codes public and transparent. Engagement by allowing the audience/community to be part of the reporting process through story ideas, sourcing, and commenting, resulting in higher impact journalism, in part because the community owns the stories.
  • Simplicity: In alignment with the revenue-first strategy and trust efforts, news organizations will focus on projects that allow them to own niche audiences and drive traffic and engagement with short-form, mobile-friendly content. We will see a stronger comeback of “retro” formats and distribution platforms that range from newsletters like The Skimm to mobile micro reports to video explainers, podcasts, bots, and bite-sized content that is easy to digest on your mobile device.

José Zamora is vice president of strategic communications for Univision News.

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Helen Havlak   Keywords, not publishers, power the world’s biggest feeds

Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

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Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

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Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

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Nicholas Diakopoulos   Fortifying social media from automated inauthenticity

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

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Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

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Jim Brady   With the people, not just of the people

Niketa Patel   Live journalism comes of age

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

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Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

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Sally Lehrman   Trust comes first

Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

Alan Soon   The rise of start of psychographic, micro-targeted media

Marcela Donini and Thiago Herdy   Collaboration is the way forward for Brazilian journalism

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

Andrew Losowsky   The year of resilience

Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

Michelle Ferrier   The year of the great reckoning

Paul Ford   Go global

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Vanessa K. DeLuca   Women’s voices take center stage

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Dan Shanoff   You down with OTT? (Yeah, DTC)

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

C.W. Anderson   The social media apocalypse

Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

Jake Levine   The return to now

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

Tanzina Vega   It’s time for media companies to #PassTheMic

Rodney Gibbs   Tech workers turn to journalism

Jim Moroney   Newspapers have to be good enough for readers to pay for

Nushin Rashidian   Publishers seek ad dollar alternatives

Kawandeep Virdee   Zines had it right all along

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

Lanre Akinola   Making noise is not a strategy

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   The Snapchat scenario and the risk of more closed platforms

Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

Tanya Cordrey   Finally, the seeds of radical reinvention

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Ruth Palmer   Risks will grow for news subjects — especially minorities

Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

Julia B. Chan   Looking for loyalty in all the right places

Manoush Zomorodi   Self-help as a publishing strategy

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

Umbreen Bhatti   The trust problem isn’t new

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

Debra Adams Simmons   And a woman shall lead them

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

Eric Ulken   The year local publishers get smart(er) about change

Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

Hossein Derakhshan   Television has won

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

Alice Antheaume   Are you fluent in AI?

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

Borja Echevarría   TV goes digital, digital goes TV

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

Renée Kaplan   The year of quiet adjustments (shhh)

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Cindy Royal   Your journalism curriculum is obsolete

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Seeking trust in fragmented spaces

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

Luke O'Neil   The end is already here

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

Susie Banikarim   R.I.P. Pivot to Video (2017–2017)

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

Rodney Benson   Better, less read, and less trusted

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Trushar Barot   The Jio-fication of India

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Cristina Wilson   The year of the Instagram Story

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

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Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Ray Soto   VR reaches the next level

Errin Haines Whack   At the ballot, it’s time to count black women

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority