Too tired to tap

“I predict our readers are going to get more tired — and that means they’re going to stop responding to this insane, frantic mass of news we’re throwing at them by the minute.”

I’m tired. You’re tired. It’s 2017.

In 2018, I predict we’ll all be even more tired. What’s more: I predict our readers are going to get more tired — and that means they’re going to stop responding to this insane, frantic mass of news we’re throwing at them by the minute.

This will have tangible results. Traffic numbers will stop breaking records. Celebrity journalists will lose some of their starpower. And yes, subscriptions and donations will plateau.

When this happens: I predict a round of handwringing from journalists who just can’t understand why people aren’t responding.

Fatigue is, of course, a natural result of the news cycle and the people making all of the news. There are impressive feats of journalism and whistleblowing and accountability surfacing every hour, and more that do not even crack the surface of “mainstream” media attention.

I’m not suggesting we stop doing any of this real journalism — I’m saying that we need to prioritize it, clearly and sometimes at the expense of our own egos and pet projects. It’s also fundamental to our job to help tired people figure out which news of the day actually matters. Take a look at your timelines and notification panels: There’s a whole lot more on there than vital, urgent, it’s-your-civic-duty-to-know-this journalism — and most of it’s redundant. We’ve all got social strategies and traffic goals and publishing holes we’re trying to fill, and we know how to write headlines and social copy that oversell what we’ve actually got. The cost comes when people train themselves to ignore us.

There’s an answer: forcing ourselves to ask the question “is this really worth a reader’s time?” What if we chose to ask for our readers’ attention only — and I mean only — when we had something new to say? I’m talking about raising the bar on sending the seventh tweet promoting the same story, commissioning an extra Facebook video that autoplays a point everyone already knows, or pushing the same alert as every other competitor in the market.

I expect that whatever we’d sacrifice in an afternoon of clickthrough rates, we would make up for in an undervalued component of reader trust: mutual respect.

Ariana Tobin is an engagement reporter at ProPublica.

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

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

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

Sydette Harry   Listen to your corner and watch for the hook

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

P. Kim Bui   The reckoning is only beginning

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

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

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

Hossein Derakhshan   Television has won

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

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

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

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

Raney Aronson-Rath   Transparency is the antidote to fake news

Lanre Akinola   Making noise is not a strategy

Will Sommer   The year local media gets conservative

Niketa Patel   Live journalism comes of age

Ray Soto   VR reaches the next level

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

Jesse Holcomb   Information disorder, coming to a congressional district near you

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

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Seeking trust in fragmented spaces

Sara M. Watson   Feeds will open up to new user-determined filters

Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

Luke O'Neil   The end is already here

Trushar Barot   The Jio-fication of India

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

Millie Tran and Stine Bauer Dahlberg   (Hint: It’s about your brand)

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

Cindy Royal   Your journalism curriculum is obsolete

Nathalie Malinarich   Peak push

Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

C.W. Anderson   The social media apocalypse

Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

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

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

Jarrod Dicker   Honesty in advertising

Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

Renée Kaplan   The year of quiet adjustments (shhh)

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

Feli Sánchez   The year for guerrilla user research

John Keefe   Scooped by AI

Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

L. Gordon Crovitz   Serving readers over advertisers

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI

Nushin Rashidian   Publishers seek ad dollar alternatives

Tanya Cordrey   Finally, the seeds of radical reinvention

Rodney Gibbs   Tech workers turn to journalism

An Xiao Mina   Memes and visuals come to the fore

Aron Pilhofer   We can’t leave the business to the business side any more

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

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

Debra Adams Simmons   And a woman shall lead them

Cristina Wilson   The year of the Instagram Story

Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Paul Ford   Go global

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

Ruth Palmer   Risks will grow for news subjects — especially minorities

Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

Carlos Martínez de la Serna   The new journalism commons

Jamie Mottram   From pageviews to t-shirts

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

Alice Antheaume   Are you fluent in AI?

Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   Skepticism and narcissism

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Fortifying social media from automated inauthenticity

Basile Simon   We need better career paths for news nerds

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Michelle Ferrier   The year of the great reckoning

Lam Thuy Vo   Breaking free from the tyranny of the loudest

Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Umbreen Bhatti   The trust problem isn’t new

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

Amie Ferris-Rotman   More female reporters abroad (please)

Andrew Losowsky   The year of resilience

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Vanessa K. DeLuca   Women’s voices take center stage

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

Rodney Benson   Better, less read, and less trusted

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

Jim Brady   With the people, not just of the people

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Women of color will reclaim and monetize our time

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Burt Herman   Things get real

Mariano Blejman   News games rule

Borja Echevarría   TV goes digital, digital goes TV

Vivian Schiller   Pivot to tomorrow

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

Kawandeep Virdee   Zines had it right all along

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

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

Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

Sally Lehrman   Trust comes first

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

Manoush Zomorodi   Self-help as a publishing strategy

Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

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

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Molly de Aguiar   Good journalism won’t be enough

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Jake Levine   The return to now

Claire Wardle   Disinformation gets worse

Richard J. Tofel   The platforms’ power demands more reporters’ attention

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Sue Schardt   Jump the niche

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals