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Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

“He’s like an indestructible monster in a Godzilla movie. The authorities keep firing at him, but he just keeps walking through town, gaining power.”

I hope 2019 won’t be the year that fact-checkers give up from exhaustion.

They are understandably tired. Despite fact-checking Donald Trump for nearly a decade (the first PolitiFact check of his birther claims was published in 2011), his extraordinary run of whoppers and Pants on Fires and four-Pinocchio claims shows no signs of slowing.

He’s like an indestructible monster in a Godzilla movie. The authorities keep firing at him, but he just keeps walking through town, gaining power.

The fact-checkers have tried every weapon they’ve got: Lie of the Year, Whoppers of the Year and even running lists of thousands of his falsehoods. They’ve created new ones, like The Washington Post Fact Checker’s new Bottomless Pinocchio, which is reserved for false claims that have been repeated more than 20 times. Fittingly, only one politician qualifies: Trump.

(Also quite fitting: The Bottomless Pinocchio was introduced on the front page of The Washington Post’s print edition next to a story about Russian propaganda.)

But despite the new weapons, Trump storms on, leaving the truth in tatters.

Looking ahead to 2019, fact-checkers shouldn’t be deterred by his persistence nor by his bogus claims of “fake news.” They should continue to check everything he says and look for more ways to innovate. News organizations should consider:

  • More alliances between fact-checkers and reporters covering the daily news. A growing number of news stories call out Trump’s falsehoods at the moment he utters them. I hope that trend continues and publishers insert fact-checks in the middle of every news story that contains a falsehood.
  • More live fact-checking. Here at Duke, our Tech & Check Cooperative includes a partnership with the Post, FactCheck.org, and PolitiFact that is exploring promising new ways to present fact-checks during speeches and debates. We’ll be continuing our experiments with our FactStream app in the coming year.
  • More fact-checks on TV. CNN earned lots of praise when it posted facts during a recent Sarah Huckabee Sanders briefing. They should do that every day.

Bill Adair is Knight Professor of Journalism and Public Policy at Duke University.

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

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

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

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

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

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

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

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

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

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

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

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

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

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

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

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

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

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

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

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

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

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

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

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

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

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

Hearken   Pivot to people

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

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

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

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

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

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

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

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

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

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

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

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

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

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

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

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

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

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Cătălina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

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

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

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

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

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

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

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

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

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

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

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

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

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

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

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

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

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

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

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

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

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

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

Errin Haines Whack   Say it with me: Racism

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

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

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

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

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

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

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

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

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

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

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

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

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

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

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

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

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

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

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

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

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

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

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

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

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta