Training is an investment, not an expense

“Newsrooms can and should have people, or at least one person, dedicated to thinking about their journalism, their audience, the tools they have available, and how to best connect all three.”

2018 is the year for newsrooms to look within and focus on building better training and tools for journalists. As news products and digital platforms continue to evolve, the need for journalists to evolve alongside technology is key in organizations of all sizes. Newsrooms can and should have people, or at least one person, dedicated to thinking about their journalism, their audience, the tools they have available, and how to best connect all three.

Journalists no longer have the luxury of working on one part of a story while someone else produces the rest and others manage its distribution and close the feedback loop, tracking audience responses. The news cycle is constant and journalists need to understand not only how to source and report stories, but also how to incorporate the audience’s needs and voices in every step as we produce, package, distribute, and measure their impact.

Newsrooms don’t always prioritize formal training or professional development opportunities for their staff, so even the journalists who are interested in learning are more often than not left to their own devices to figure out what’s relevant to them, or even how to approach small innovation steps in their day-to-day work. Breaking habits or mental patterns is hard, especially without guidance.

How can we fill these gaps? We facilitate training, incorporate tools, and design better workflows. We help build digital skills that foster a culture of collaboration and continuous learning in newsrooms. We develop a better understanding of why stories resonate in certain channels or how to use certain platforms to listen for feedback and this helps us put our audience at the center of our work.

Dedicated training resources are key in raising this bar. Just because someone is good at a particular skill doesn’t mean they can train others on it. Newsroom trainers must have a deep understanding of journalistic core values as well as technological knowhow and soft skills. In order for them to be effective, training programs or initiatives need to be thoughtful and intentional.

Helping journalists build new digital muscles goes beyond bringing shiny tools into a newsroom and teaching people which buttons to push. The real lessons happen when journalists really understand why a particular storytelling format works best for a story, how to best leverage those new tools and seamlessly incorporate how people connect with our stories into their process.

Reflecting on the role of newsroom training as a priority is significant, because at a time where many news organizations are making cuts and occupying much of their resources on initiatives that directly impact revenue, developing human resources may be considered an afterthought — or worse yet, an expense and not an investment. Newsrooms need to focus on expanding digital skills even if budgets are tightening, because strengthening our digital literacy helps strengthen the existing relationships with our audiences, which ultimately diversifies and improves the quality of our report — and we could definitely benefit from that.

Charo Henríquez is senior editor of digital storytelling and training at The New York Times.

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

Ray Soto   VR reaches the next level

Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

Sydette Harry   Listen to your corner and watch for the hook

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

Nushin Rashidian   Publishers seek ad dollar alternatives

Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

Andrew Losowsky   The year of resilience

Sue Schardt   Jump the niche

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

Renée Kaplan   The year of quiet adjustments (shhh)

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

Ruth Palmer   Risks will grow for news subjects — especially minorities

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

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   Skepticism and narcissism

Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

Burt Herman   Things get real

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

Kawandeep Virdee   Zines had it right all along

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

Paul Ford   Go global

Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

P. Kim Bui   The reckoning is only beginning

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

Alice Antheaume   Are you fluent in AI?

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

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

Manoush Zomorodi   Self-help as a publishing strategy

Jim Brady   With the people, not just of the people

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

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

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

Jamie Mottram   From pageviews to t-shirts

Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

Cristina Wilson   The year of the Instagram Story

Lam Thuy Vo   Breaking free from the tyranny of the loudest

Will Sommer   The year local media gets conservative

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Seeking trust in fragmented spaces

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

Carlos Martínez de la Serna   The new journalism commons

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

An Xiao Mina   Memes and visuals come to the fore

Rodney Gibbs   Tech workers turn to journalism

C.W. Anderson   The social media apocalypse

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Niketa Patel   Live journalism comes of age

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

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

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

Basile Simon   We need better career paths for news nerds

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

Jake Levine   The return to now

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

Umbreen Bhatti   The trust problem isn’t new

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

Trushar Barot   The Jio-fication of India

Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

Cindy Royal   Your journalism curriculum is obsolete

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

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

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

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

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

Nathalie Malinarich   Peak push

Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

Mariano Blejman   News games rule

Feli Sánchez   The year for guerrilla user research

Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

Molly de Aguiar   Good journalism won’t be enough

Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Raney Aronson-Rath   Transparency is the antidote to fake news

Vanessa K. DeLuca   Women’s voices take center stage

Tanya Cordrey   Finally, the seeds of radical reinvention

Rodney Benson   Better, less read, and less trusted

Borja Echevarría   TV goes digital, digital goes TV

Claire Wardle   Disinformation gets worse

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

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

Lanre Akinola   Making noise is not a strategy

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

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

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

Amie Ferris-Rotman   More female reporters abroad (please)

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

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

John Keefe   Scooped by AI

Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

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

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

Luke O'Neil   The end is already here

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

Michelle Ferrier   The year of the great reckoning

Sally Lehrman   Trust comes first

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

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

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

Jarrod Dicker   Honesty in advertising

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

Vivian Schiller   Pivot to tomorrow

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Hossein Derakhshan   Television has won

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

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Fortifying social media from automated inauthenticity

L. Gordon Crovitz   Serving readers over advertisers

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

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

Debra Adams Simmons   And a woman shall lead them