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

Amie Ferris-Rotman   More female reporters abroad (please)

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

Raney Aronson-Rath   Transparency is the antidote to fake news

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

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

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

Cristina Wilson   The year of the Instagram Story

Jamie Mottram   From pageviews to t-shirts

Gordon Crovitz   Serving readers over advertisers

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

Carlos Martínez de la Serna   The new journalism commons

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

Luke O'Neil   The end is already here

Juleyka Lantigua   Women of color will reclaim and monetize our time

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Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

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

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

Vanessa K. DeLuca   Women’s voices take center stage

Rodney Gibbs   Tech workers turn to journalism

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI

Basile Simon   We need better career paths for news nerds

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

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Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

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

Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

Manoush Zomorodi   Self-help as a publishing strategy

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Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

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Molly de Aguiar   Good journalism won’t be enough

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Fortifying social media from automated inauthenticity

Nathalie Malinarich   Peak push

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

Niketa Patel   Live journalism comes of age

Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

Rodney Benson   Better, less read, and less trusted

Debra Adams Simmons   And a woman shall lead them

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

Sydette Harry   Listen to your corner and watch for the hook

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

Feli Sánchez   The year for guerrilla user research

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

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

An Xiao Mina   Memes and visuals come to the fore

Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   Skepticism and narcissism

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

Cindy Royal   Your journalism curriculum is obsolete

Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

Ray Soto   VR reaches the next level

Burt Herman   Things get real

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

Borja Echevarría   TV goes digital, digital goes TV

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

Richard Tofel   The platforms’ power demands more reporters’ attention

John Keefe   Scooped by AI

Andrew Losowsky   The year of resilience

Sue Schardt   Jump the niche

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

Trushar Barot   The Jio-fication of India

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

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

Vivian Schiller   Pivot to tomorrow

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

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

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

Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

Alice Antheaume   Are you fluent in AI?

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

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

C.W. Anderson   The social media apocalypse

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

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

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

Kawandeep Virdee   Zines had it right all along

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

Mariano Blejman   News games rule

Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

Will Sommer   The year local media gets conservative

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

Tanya Cordrey   Finally, the seeds of radical reinvention

Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Renée Kaplan   The year of quiet adjustments (shhh)

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

Lanre Akinola   Making noise is not a strategy

Paul Ford   Go global

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

Jim Brady   With the people, not just of the people

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

Umbreen Bhatti   The trust problem isn’t new

Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

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

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach