2
0
1
9

A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

“For news products to compete with the platforms they must engage readers to the same extent, recognizing the bar of UX is set in the minds of the reader across everything they experience on the internet, not just other publications.”

Late this year, we saw strong evidence that consumers quickly and willingly substitute news apps for Facebook in the case that Facebook is unavailable (and similar evidence for other platforms). That makes for an opportunity as publishers’ relationship with the platforms evolves.

With Facebook traffic on the decline, a steady stream of bad news about the effects of social media on society, and no major new platform emerging for engaging with news readers, publishers will need to work hard to own their audiences rather than building audience on distributed platforms.

From those publishers who succeed, I suspect we’ll see an enhanced focus on two things:

  • Product, particularly mobile product. For distributed visitors, an individual story is the main reason a user arrives — users in some other product (Google Search, their Facebook feed, Apple News) get interested in a story and click in. But for a visitor to come regularly, they must be interested in the user experience regardless of the particular news of the day. For news products to compete with the platforms they must engage readers to the same extent, recognizing the bar of UX is set in the minds of the reader across everything they experience on the internet, not just other publications.
  • Journalism that makes a publication unique. Of course, this one isn’t new, but it does get lost when tracking all the data trends. The most important part of the news product experience is the content itself. Those publishers who succeed at building strong loyal audiences will be those who have a strong, established brand with the unique journalism to back it up.

Josh Schwartz is chief of product, engineering, and data science at Chartbeat.

Alyssa Zeisler   We expand what (and how and who) we serve

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Robin Kwong   Tech shouldn’t be the only field pollinating “news nerds”

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Jonathan Stray   More algorithmic accountability reporting, and a lot of it will be meh

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Seth C. Lewis   The gap between journalism and research is too wide

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Mike Rispoli and Craig Aaron   Government funds local news — and that’s a good thing

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Jesse Holcomb   We’ll get better at making the case for local journalism

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Raney Aronson-Rath   We learn “digital” doesn’t have to mean “short”

Claire Wardle   Forget deepfakes: Misinformation is showing up in our most personal online spaces

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Angilee Shah   The year news orgs say “yes” to real leaders

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Simon Galperin   After capitalism’s fire, journalism’s secondary succession

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Kjerstin Thorson   Time to get mad about information inequality (again)

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Umbreen Bhatti   The story doesn’t end for the people we quote

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   The most beautiful sentence in 2019 is “No.”

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Hossein Derakhshan   The news is dying, but journalism will not — and should not

Tushar Banerjee   Interactive ads will be the new face of display advertising

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Efrat Nechushtai   Journalism wants to be your friend, not your teacher

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Matt Waite   “I went to Node.js because I wished to live deliberately”

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Cristi Hegranes   A year to invest in the security of local journalists

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Cătălina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Tyler Fisher   This is journalism’s do-or-die moment

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

An Xiao Mina   The death of consensus, not the death of truth

Sarah Stonbely   Mapping the local news ecosystem — with scale but detail

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

james Wahutu   Think 2018 was bad? Wait until you see 2019

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Mike Isaac   The old exit doors for digital media companies are closing

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Carrie Brown-Smith   Advocating a healthy civic life is no journalistic crime

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Glyn Mottershead and Martin Chorley   When a tech company pulls the plug on your story

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Matt Karolian   Publishers come to terms with being Facebook’s enablers

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau   A more sincere definition of “community”

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Manoush Zomorodi   Tech will do for information overload what it did for mindfulness

Whitney Phillips   Our information systems aren’t broken — they’re working as intended

Axie Navas   The traffic hunt, CMS battle, and magazine identity crises loom

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Heather Chaplin   Agree we’re partisan — for the democratic system

Rebecca Lee Sanchez   We are all actors in the running rampant of political theater

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Alexandra Borchardt   Newsrooms need to build trust with their journalists, not just the audience

Cindy Royal   For journalism curriculum to change, its faculty needs disruption

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Adam B. Ellick   Video forensic reporting goes mainstream — and local

Millie Tran   There is no magic — you’ve got this

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Amy King   We should listen to the kids (especially on Instagram)

Stephanie Edgerly   It’s time to understand the un-audience

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Zainab Khan   Publishers whose products can stand up to social media giants will win

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Jennifer Dargan   You don’t build diversity through one-off training sessions

Errin Haines Whack   Say it with me: Racism

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Steve Myers   From trying to cover it all to covering what matters

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Elisabeth Goodridge   Yes, they signed up — but our job’s not over

Hearken   Pivot to people

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Tshepo Tshabalala   Ahead of African elections, unlock partnerships with fact-checkers

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Amy Schmitz Weiss   Local news isn’t where you thought it was

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Jenée Desmond-Harris   It finally sinks in that some people aren’t white

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Frank Mungeam   Tonight at 11: News, sports, and climate change

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Pia Frey   You can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Frank Chimero   Leave the phone at home and put news on your wrist

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   A long, slow slog, with no one coming to the rescue

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product