2
0
1
9

Readers are only getting started

“To really be a reader-driven organization, every journalist that works there should be open to the knowledge, ideas, and concerns of their readers. You can’t outsource that interaction to an engagement editor.”

Now that we are all getting used to asking readers to pay for our journalism, we will bring this new business model to the next level in 2019.

The first thing we need to do? Realizing it’s not just a business model.

It’s more than “passive consumers pay us for information.” It’s not the Bloomberg Terminal. Your readers are paying you because they value your mission and they want to be part of it.

That’s why The Guardian managed to get 1 million paying readers over the last three years. It couldn’t be for just the information itself, because the site’s articles are open to everyone. The Guardian’s readers are paying because they think The Guardian’s journalism matters — they pay because they think it’s a public good that needs to be available to other citizens too.

The implication of this? Reader revenue can’t be something that only the business division works on. Because if readers deem the mission important, they also want to help you with other means than just a financial contribution. They want you to be able to do your journalism to the best of your abilities.

  • If they know something about the topic you’re covering, they want to share that knowledge with you.
  • If they are concerned about a trend they see in their industry, field of study or community, they want to be able to share their concern with you.
  • If you are making important business or editorial decisions, they want to hear about them and understand them. And help you make better ones too.

So to really be a reader-driven organization, every journalist that works there should be open to the knowledge, ideas, and concerns of their readers. You can’t outsource that interaction to an engagement editor.

And the board of a publication should inform its subscribers or members about the business’ direction. For example, with an annual financial report for readers.

In 2019, we will realize that readers want to offer us more than just their money, and they also expect more than just information in return. This is a good thing. Because journalism exists to keep citizens informed. Its revenue model finally becomes more civic-oriented. In 2019, we can take the next step and start offering our readers more ways to help with our important mission.

I, for one, can’t wait!

Ernst Pfauth is cofounder and CEO of The Correspondent.

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

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

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

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

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

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

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

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

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

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

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

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

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

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

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

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

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

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

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

Cătălina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

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

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Hearken   Pivot to people

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

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

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

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

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

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

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

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

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

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

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

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

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

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

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

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

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

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

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

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

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

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

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

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

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

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

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

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

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

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

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

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

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

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

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

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

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

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

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

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

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

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

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

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

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

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

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

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

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

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

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

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

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

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

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

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

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

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

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

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

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

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

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

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

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

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

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

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Errin Haines Whack   Say it with me: Racism

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

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional