2
0
1
9

From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

“We will stop asking ourselves, ‘Are we a media company or a tech company?’ and find that the distinction is arbitrary. A truly collaborative company will be a new species altogether.”

This year, newsrooms will double-down on something that we normally don’t love to think about: structure and process.

After getting burned by platforms the last two years, media companies are pulling back from the ubiquity mindset — that growing our audience means being present on (and winning at) all of the platforms.

Instead, we are turning inward to focus on making our core offerings the best they can be. And this means we’ll have to get serious about exploring new processes and organizational structures that lend to innovating editorially, not just technologically.

We will balk at the idea of tearing down existing newsroom power dynamics — heads of editorial vs. heads of product/tech. It will feel like there’s too much at stake: our time, our money, and our egos. But the fact of the matter is small, cross-functional teams with flat hierarchies produce the best, most innovative work. Our side-by-side silos won’t cut it anymore; product and UX will need to cozy-up and learn to think like writers and editors, and vice versa.

With smaller, Swiss Army knife teams, product managers, designers, reporters, editors, and developers can align their goals to work as one scrappy unit. Our “products” will move from low-touch, automated, templated, and mass-distributed, to high-touch, sensorially compelling, and with a focused user-base in mind.

The shift towards storytelling as a product-development process will take some convincing. Media companies are skeptical of tech culture, and for good reason. “Move fast and break things” isn’t a suitable mantra for an industry with a civic responsibility to get the details right. But we will learn to take the parts of tech methodologies that work for us, and ditch the parts that don’t. In the end, we will have created something entirely our own.

This type of big-picture thinking for newsrooms will be hard, slow, and painful, particularly for journalists accustomed to the fast-paced rhythm of the daily news cycle. But my hope is that in 2019, we will stop asking ourselves, “Are we a media company or a tech company?” and find that the distinction is arbitrary. A truly collaborative company will be a new species altogether.

Rebecca Searles is a product manager at NBC Owned Television Stations.

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

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

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

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

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

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

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

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

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

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

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

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

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

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

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

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

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

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

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

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

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

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

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Errin Haines Whack   Say it with me: Racism

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

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

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

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

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

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

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Hearken   Pivot to people

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

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

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

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

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

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

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

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

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

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

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

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

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

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

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

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

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

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

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

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

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

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

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Cătălina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

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

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

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

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

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

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

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

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

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

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

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

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

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

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

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

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

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

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

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

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

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

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

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

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

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

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

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

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

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

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

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

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

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

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

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration