Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

“The winners will be the ones who have built a meaningful journalistic report that transcends, and likely capitalizes on, the platform moment.”

I have a jacket emblazoned with the phrase, “Suffering from realness.” The quote, if you didn’t already know, is from rapper and noted footwear purveyor Kanye West. His prose likely had nothing at all to do with the state of journalism,1 but that’s exactly why I had it airbrushed. I, along with two other of my best journo friends, co-opted Kanye to make cryptically public the commitment to powering through the tumultuous publishing seas for something worthy.

@sclary @tiffany99 i hope to god you brought your damn jackets // cc @juliabeizer

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Pivoting to video, forsaking O&O for distributed, hiring growth hackers, pursuing OTT, new ad products, subscriptions, live, visual — you name it. None of these things are inherently bad — all mere tactics in our transition. And yet they are villainized, by, well, us. 2018 will be no exception. However, here’s betting that it will also be a moment when the tide turns in favor of thinking about impact — realness — in a new way. The winners will be the ones who have built a meaningful journalistic report that transcends, and likely capitalizes on, the platform moment.

Out of the darkest moments come some of the best. Take the Weinstein effect and the speed at which those stories traveled. The entire #metoo network effect is impact at a pace and scale previously unimaginable. Yes, our business model is far from settled. But do not think for a moment that this sea change would be possible without platforms that reach 2 billion people. Sure, it comes with a high cost to businesses that once reaped a 60 percent margin. But the impact potential is even greater.

If you are existentially vexed about all of this, the question to ask yourself as it is all happening around you: Are you pivoting to impact? This might sound trite, but I mean it sincerely. Below, a starter “pivot to impact” moral compass!

If you are a journalist: Have you recently revealed something to your audience that they likely didn’t know before that helps them understand the context of our changing world? Important bonus: Did you try to make it reach as many people as possible?

If you work in product: Did you build something that people want, that possibly helps enable the above? (h/t @MarcusMoretti)

If you work on revenue: Are you focusing on how your publication can uniquely serve users or advertisers?

If you are a platform: Have you worked with a publishing partner either on helping to monetize their existing body of work or offered to pay them for their expert services? Have you worked to battle fake news?  

In all seriousness, I am a believer in where we are headed and the good work that’s being done along the way. That’s not to dismiss the challenges and tough calls required to get there. I’ll leave you with a line I often recite to myself and to my teams: If you focus on the story and focus on the user, you will not lose. I am betting on 2018 to value this anew.

Cory Haik is publisher of Mic.

  1. Honestly I should have reached out for comment, but I feel extremely confident in my stated take that these three words together are entirely unrelated to the journalism industry. ↩︎

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Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

Dan Newman   A return to trust

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

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Umbreen Bhatti   The trust problem isn’t new

Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

Will Sommer   The year local media gets conservative

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Jim Brady   With the people, not just of the people

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

Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

Manoush Zomorodi   Self-help as a publishing strategy

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

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

Niketa Patel   Live journalism comes of age

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

Vivian Schiller   Pivot to tomorrow

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

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

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

Paul Ford   Go global

Lam Thuy Vo   Breaking free from the tyranny of the loudest

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Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

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

Borja Echevarría   TV goes digital, digital goes TV

P. Kim Bui   The reckoning is only beginning

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Jarrod Dicker   Honesty in advertising

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

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

Gordon Crovitz   Serving readers over advertisers

Burt Herman   Things get real

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Michelle Ferrier   The year of the great reckoning

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

Nushin Rashidian   Publishers seek ad dollar alternatives

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

Lanre Akinola   Making noise is not a strategy

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Renée Kaplan   The year of quiet adjustments (shhh)

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

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Amie Ferris-Rotman   More female reporters abroad (please)

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

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

Basile Simon   We need better career paths for news nerds

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Claire Wardle   Disinformation gets worse

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

Rodney Benson   Better, less read, and less trusted

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

Sally Lehrman   Trust comes first

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   Skepticism and narcissism

Sue Schardt   Jump the niche

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

Ruth Palmer   Risks will grow for news subjects — especially minorities

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

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

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

Raney Aronson-Rath   Transparency is the antidote to fake news

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

Jake Levine   The return to now

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

Jamie Mottram   From pageviews to t-shirts

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Kawandeep Virdee   Zines had it right all along

Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

Juleyka Lantigua   Women of color will reclaim and monetize our time

Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

Feli Sánchez   The year for guerrilla user research

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

Mariano Blejman   News games rule

Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Seeking trust in fragmented spaces

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Debra Adams Simmons   And a woman shall lead them

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Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

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Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

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Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

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Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

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Luke O'Neil   The end is already here

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Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

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Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI

John Keefe   Scooped by AI

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

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Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

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Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

Vanessa K. DeLuca   Women’s voices take center stage

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Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

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

Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

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

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