The arc of news and audience

“There’s been a reckoning in digital media, and hopefully, a recognition that the very thing we once decried as commodity journalism is also necessary journalism. Like milk and coffee and electricity, news is needed. Facts, verified, analyzed, contextualized, matter.”

We need to do news better.

I’ve been a part of at least four new ventures in my career. Each began with a certain disdain for news. Each ended (two are still around) with the realization we needed to break more news.

There’s been a reckoning in digital media, and hopefully, a recognition that the very thing we once decried as commodity journalism is also necessary journalism. Like milk and coffee and electricity, news is needed. Facts, verified, analyzed, contextualized, matter.

We also need to change how and when we’re delivering them.

This is the arc of a news story. You can plot many events of this past year on the curve: inauguration, hurricanes, awards shows, mass shootings. (Oh, 2017, where to begin?)

This is where we tend to focus our delivery of journalism.

This is the arc of audience engagement with a live news story. Notice how the growth trajectory is at odds with how and when we deliver the news, pictured above.

In 2018, we must meet their demand and bring audience into the process of reporting in real time. Some of this has already been forced upon us. Witness the coverage of #MeToo and the swift downfall of those accused; I can’t help but think back to days when we didn’t report on sexual misconduct unless a police report had been filed. Another hashtag (#BlackLivesMatter) also reminds us to question the same sources that once set our news agenda.

It’s hard work to reconcile conflicting accounts in the moment, but that’s the difference between stenography and journalism. When we offer transparency into what we know, what we don’t know and how we know what we know, we gain trust. And we can certainly use more of that in 2018, too.

S. Mitra Kalita is the vice president for programming at CNN Digital.

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

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

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S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

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Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

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Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

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

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

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

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

Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

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

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

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

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

L. Gordon Crovitz   Serving readers over advertisers

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

Ruth Palmer   Risks will grow for news subjects — especially minorities

Sue Schardt   Jump the niche

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

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Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

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Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

Cindy Royal   Your journalism curriculum is obsolete

Amie Ferris-Rotman   More female reporters abroad (please)

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

Feli Sánchez   The year for guerrilla user research

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

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

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

Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Michelle Ferrier   The year of the great reckoning

Vivian Schiller   Pivot to tomorrow

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

Sally Lehrman   Trust comes first

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

Cristina Wilson   The year of the Instagram Story

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

An Xiao Mina   Memes and visuals come to the fore

Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

Manoush Zomorodi   Self-help as a publishing strategy

Carlos Martínez de la Serna   The new journalism commons

Paul Ford   Go global

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Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

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Claire Wardle   Disinformation gets worse

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Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

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Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

Nushin Rashidian   Publishers seek ad dollar alternatives

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

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

Jarrod Dicker   Honesty in advertising

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Fortifying social media from automated inauthenticity

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Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

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Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

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Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

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