Revenue-first journalism

“No newsroom will launch a new initiative without having a clear plan for its financial sustainability.”

2018 brings a focus to revenue-first journalism, broader and stronger efforts to drive trust in news, and simple, short content and distribution formats.

  • Revenue first: Mobile-first strategies will continue to be vital to reach audiences, and the low cost of innovation will continue to allow for low-risk experimentation, but the focus for new journalism projects will be revenue-first. No newsroom will launch a new initiative without having a clear plan for its financial sustainability. Legacy newsrooms and start-ups will deal with it in their own ways, i.e., The New York Times cutting its free articles limit from 10 to 5 per month to drive subscriptions, and Axios focusing on owning a specific audience and diversifying its sources of revenue by selling sponsorships, ads, and events.
  • Trust: News organizations, foundations, and nonprofits will embark on major efforts to drive and strengthen trust in journalism and news brands. In a context in which the president attacks the credibility of news organizations on a daily basis, we will see more efforts that range from slogans like The Washington Post’s “Democracy Dies in Darkness” to The Trust Project, which aims to create standards of transparency in journalism to build a trusted press. We will also see more investments in bulletproof reporting. All trust efforts will highlight two elements: clarity and engagement. Clarity in the form of explainers, reporter bios, a clear differentiation between reporting and opinion, and making ethics codes public and transparent. Engagement by allowing the audience/community to be part of the reporting process through story ideas, sourcing, and commenting, resulting in higher impact journalism, in part because the community owns the stories.
  • Simplicity: In alignment with the revenue-first strategy and trust efforts, news organizations will focus on projects that allow them to own niche audiences and drive traffic and engagement with short-form, mobile-friendly content. We will see a stronger comeback of “retro” formats and distribution platforms that range from newsletters like The Skimm to mobile micro reports to video explainers, podcasts, bots, and bite-sized content that is easy to digest on your mobile device.

José Zamora is vice president of strategic communications for Univision News.

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Rodney Benson   Better, less read, and less trusted

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Fortifying social media from automated inauthenticity

L. Gordon Crovitz   Serving readers over advertisers

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

Michelle Ferrier   The year of the great reckoning

Raney Aronson-Rath   Transparency is the antidote to fake news

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

Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

Sally Lehrman   Trust comes first

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

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

Nathalie Malinarich   Peak push

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

Cindy Royal   Your journalism curriculum is obsolete

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

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   Skepticism and narcissism

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

Molly de Aguiar   Good journalism won’t be enough

Lam Thuy Vo   Breaking free from the tyranny of the loudest

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

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

Trushar Barot   The Jio-fication of India

Feli Sánchez   The year for guerrilla user research

Claire Wardle   Disinformation gets worse

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

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

Hossein Derakhshan   Television has won

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Jim Brady   With the people, not just of the people

Sydette Harry   Listen to your corner and watch for the hook

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

Ray Soto   VR reaches the next level

Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Seeking trust in fragmented spaces

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

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

Lanre Akinola   Making noise is not a strategy

Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

Borja Echevarría   TV goes digital, digital goes TV

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

Andrew Losowsky   The year of resilience

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

Cristina Wilson   The year of the Instagram Story

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

Kawandeep Virdee   Zines had it right all along

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

Sue Schardt   Jump the niche

Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

Luke O'Neil   The end is already here

Basile Simon   We need better career paths for news nerds

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

Amie Ferris-Rotman   More female reporters abroad (please)

An Xiao Mina   Memes and visuals come to the fore

Niketa Patel   Live journalism comes of age

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

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

Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

Tanya Cordrey   Finally, the seeds of radical reinvention

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

Alice Antheaume   Are you fluent in AI?

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

John Keefe   Scooped by AI

Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

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

Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

Jarrod Dicker   Honesty in advertising

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI

Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

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

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

C.W. Anderson   The social media apocalypse

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

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

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

Burt Herman   Things get real

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

Dan Newman   A return to trust

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

Jamie Mottram   From pageviews to t-shirts

Rodney Gibbs   Tech workers turn to journalism

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

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

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

Vanessa K. DeLuca   Women’s voices take center stage

Debra Adams Simmons   And a woman shall lead them

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

Nushin Rashidian   Publishers seek ad dollar alternatives

Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

Paul Ford   Go global

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

Ruth Palmer   Risks will grow for news subjects — especially minorities

Carlos Martínez de la Serna   The new journalism commons

Manoush Zomorodi   Self-help as a publishing strategy

Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

Vivian Schiller   Pivot to tomorrow

Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

P. Kim Bui   The reckoning is only beginning

Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

Will Sommer   The year local media gets conservative

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

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

Mariano Blejman   News games rule

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

Jake Levine   The return to now