The year of self-improvement

“2016 and 2017 have been the years of news organizations fitting our content into other companies’ boxes in the quest for The Answer To All Of Our Problems — only to realize that tech giants get bored quickly and have no qualms leaving us holding a dozen additional mini-problems.”

Facebook Instant Articles. Facebook video. Facebook Live video. Snapchat Discover. Google AMP. Google Stamp. Messenger bots. Slack bots. Alexa skills. Google Assistant Actions. 2016 and 2017 have been the years of news organizations fitting our content into other companies’ boxes in the quest for The Answer To All Of Our Problems — only to realize that tech giants get bored quickly and have no qualms leaving us holding a dozen additional mini-problems. It’s a vicious cycle, and if Silicon Valley isn’t careful, we’re only going to fall for it another ten or twelve times before doing something about it.

But what will we do instead? 2018 will be the year to look inwards and reflect on the state of our own glass houses. There is going to be a huge opportunity for innovation on the web next year, as Apple will join Google in bringing or improving app-like features such as push notifications, offline browsing, and home screen shortcuts to mobile browsers. Rather than wait for these companies to tell us what to do, we can take the tools they provide and improve coverage on the platforms we own. But before we can do that, we need to make them a place readers actually want to visit: no more full-screen takeover ads, newsletter signup modals, or arbitrary “click to read more” buttons. It will be difficult to overcome our dependence on programmatic ad dollars and pageview counts, but we must.

As the web gains app-like functions, native apps will be reevaluated according to what makes them unique and worth the sizable investment they require. For some, that will mean incredible visual journalism that incorporates AR, VR, and the like. For others, it might mean gathering external signals like commute time or location in order to deliver a truly personal news reading experience. But an app that pairs simple article reading with push notifications won’t cut it any more.

The problem: This all costs a huge amount of time and money. Which will be acceptable for the more well-funded media organizations (though they too will be cutting costs), but unrealistic for smaller, less well-funded ones. This divide between the digital haves and the digital have-nots has been widening for years — maybe 2018 will finally be the year to fix the trickle-down knowledge sharing in tech and come up with open, industry-wide tools that solve our big problems and are easier to set up than a bare repository of source code. It’s in everyone’s interest, because if we want to regain the trust of our readers, fixing one website is not enough. We need to restore their trust in the ecosystems that let us succeed.

Alastair Coote is a developer at the Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab.

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Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   Skepticism and narcissism

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

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

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

Amie Ferris-Rotman   More female reporters abroad (please)

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

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

Lanre Akinola   Making noise is not a strategy

Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

Paul Ford   Go global

Cindy Royal   Your journalism curriculum is obsolete

Carlos Martínez de la Serna   The new journalism commons

Jamie Mottram   From pageviews to t-shirts

Rodney Gibbs   Tech workers turn to journalism

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

Michelle Ferrier   The year of the great reckoning

Lam Thuy Vo   Breaking free from the tyranny of the loudest

Borja Echevarría   TV goes digital, digital goes TV

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

Tanya Cordrey   Finally, the seeds of radical reinvention

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

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

Nushin Rashidian   Publishers seek ad dollar alternatives

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Seeking trust in fragmented spaces

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

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

Claire Wardle   Disinformation gets worse

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

Cristina Wilson   The year of the Instagram Story

Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

Manoush Zomorodi   Self-help as a publishing strategy

Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

Sydette Harry   Listen to your corner and watch for the hook

Debra Adams Simmons   And a woman shall lead them

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

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

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

Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

P. Kim Bui   The reckoning is only beginning

Raney Aronson-Rath   Transparency is the antidote to fake news

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

Basile Simon   We need better career paths for news nerds

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Fortifying social media from automated inauthenticity

Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

L. Gordon Crovitz   Serving readers over advertisers

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

Andrew Losowsky   The year of resilience

Luke O'Neil   The end is already here

Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

Jake Levine   The return to now

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

Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

Ray Soto   VR reaches the next level

Feli Sánchez   The year for guerrilla user research

Alice Antheaume   Are you fluent in AI?

Will Sommer   The year local media gets conservative

Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

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

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

Renée Kaplan   The year of quiet adjustments (shhh)

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

Niketa Patel   Live journalism comes of age

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Jim Brady   With the people, not just of the people

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

Vivian Schiller   Pivot to tomorrow

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

Mariano Blejman   News games rule

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Burt Herman   Things get real

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

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

Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Umbreen Bhatti   The trust problem isn’t new

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

Rodney Benson   Better, less read, and less trusted

Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

Trushar Barot   The Jio-fication of India

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI

Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

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

Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

Vanessa K. DeLuca   Women’s voices take center stage

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

C.W. Anderson   The social media apocalypse

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

Jarrod Dicker   Honesty in advertising

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

Hossein Derakhshan   Television has won

Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

Ruth Palmer   Risks will grow for news subjects — especially minorities

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

Sally Lehrman   Trust comes first

John Keefe   Scooped by AI

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

Molly de Aguiar   Good journalism won’t be enough

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

An Xiao Mina   Memes and visuals come to the fore

Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

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

Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Nathalie Malinarich   Peak push

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

Sue Schardt   Jump the niche

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Kawandeep Virdee   Zines had it right all along

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