Longform video leads the way

“Whether journalists recognize it or not, we’re all on a march to making video content that’s worthy of Netflix. 2018 will show longform video journalism can be appointment viewing and bingeable.”

2017 may have been the year the phrase “pivot to video” proved ominous for some digital publishers, but make no mistake — 2018 is when longform original video journalism will make its mark.

In recent years, news organizations have embraced super-short, quick-turnaround videos on social platforms, especially Facebook. The text-on-video style has become as familiar as it is synonymous with video journalism on social media.

Now, social platforms, user habits, and storytelling methods are including lanes better suited for longer original narratives. And the word “original” is especially important in that sentence.

The success and ease of production for text on video has saturated the market. Oftentimes you’ll see newsrooms producing similar social video edits for the same stories. Even short-form video has had to transform, but longform original video will break out in 2018 as a way for publications to differentiate themselves.

In fact, social video looks a lot more like what we’re used to seeing traditionally in television and film. Think documentaries, series, subjects telling their own stories in their own words, and a way to distinguish content from all the other options available online.

News organizations have increased their focus on YouTube. It’s a conversation we’ve literally been having for years. The site’s 1 billion active users a month make it a great place for news organizations to expand their reach and audiences at a time when they’re all looking for more — more views, more engagement, more resonance. Plus, with YouTube favoring the watch time metric, longform is poised for success. Add to that this year’s introduction of Facebook Watch and the places for longform video to be seen and excel continues to expand.

Whether journalists recognize it or not, we’re all on a march to making video content that’s worthy of Netflix. 2018 will show longform video journalism can be appointment viewing and bingeable. Users can subscribe to watch the latest production immediately or set aside time to watch one longer video, leading to another, and another.

Newsrooms will make highly produced, longform video more of a priority in pursuit of nuanced storytelling, audience desire, and transparency. Oh, and then there’s the money. Longform journalism may have the most monetizability.

YouTube already has monetization built in, and Facebook’s algorithm rewards engaging video content. So if you’re looking to create a 2018 video plan for your newsroom, longform may get you where you want to be.

Imaeyen Ibanga is senior context producer with AJ+.

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Vivian Schiller   Pivot to tomorrow

Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Hossein Derakhshan   Television has won

Raney Aronson-Rath   Transparency is the antidote to fake news

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

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

Trushar Barot   The Jio-fication of India

Rodney Benson   Better, less read, and less trusted

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

Tanya Cordrey   Finally, the seeds of radical reinvention

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

Ruth Palmer   Risks will grow for news subjects — especially minorities

Vanessa K. DeLuca   Women’s voices take center stage

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

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

Burt Herman   Things get real

John Keefe   Scooped by AI

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Mariano Blejman   News games rule

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

Lam Thuy Vo   Breaking free from the tyranny of the loudest

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

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

Lanre Akinola   Making noise is not a strategy

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

Jamie Mottram   From pageviews to t-shirts

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

Ray Soto   VR reaches the next level

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Fortifying social media from automated inauthenticity

Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI

Renée Kaplan   The year of quiet adjustments (shhh)

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

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

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

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

Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

Carlos Martínez de la Serna   The new journalism commons

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Cindy Royal   Your journalism curriculum is obsolete

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

Luke O'Neil   The end is already here

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

Nushin Rashidian   Publishers seek ad dollar alternatives

Sally Lehrman   Trust comes first

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

Claire Wardle   Disinformation gets worse

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

Michelle Ferrier   The year of the great reckoning

Paul Ford   Go global

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

Cristina Wilson   The year of the Instagram Story

Nathalie Malinarich   Peak push

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

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

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

Borja Echevarría   TV goes digital, digital goes TV

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Seeking trust in fragmented spaces

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

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

Feli Sánchez   The year for guerrilla user research

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

Molly de Aguiar   Good journalism won’t be enough

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

Alice Antheaume   Are you fluent in AI?

Umbreen Bhatti   The trust problem isn’t new

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

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

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

Amie Ferris-Rotman   More female reporters abroad (please)

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

Andrew Losowsky   The year of resilience

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

Rodney Gibbs   Tech workers turn to journalism

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   Skepticism and narcissism

Basile Simon   We need better career paths for news nerds

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

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

Jake Levine   The return to now

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

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

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

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

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

C.W. Anderson   The social media apocalypse

Niketa Patel   Live journalism comes of age

Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

P. Kim Bui   The reckoning is only beginning

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

Jim Brady   With the people, not just of the people

An Xiao Mina   Memes and visuals come to the fore

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

L. Gordon Crovitz   Serving readers over advertisers

Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

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

Sydette Harry   Listen to your corner and watch for the hook

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

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

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

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

Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

Manoush Zomorodi   Self-help as a publishing strategy

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Debra Adams Simmons   And a woman shall lead them

Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

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

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

Kawandeep Virdee   Zines had it right all along

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Will Sommer   The year local media gets conservative

Jarrod Dicker   Honesty in advertising

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

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

Sue Schardt   Jump the niche