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.

Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

Umbreen Bhatti   The trust problem isn’t new

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

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

Andrew Losowsky   The year of resilience

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

Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

Jamie Mottram   From pageviews to t-shirts

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

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

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

Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Debra Adams Simmons   And a woman shall lead them

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

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

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Hossein Derakhshan   Television has won

C.W. Anderson   The social media apocalypse

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

Lanre Akinola   Making noise is not a strategy

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

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

Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

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

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

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

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

Burt Herman   Things get real

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

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

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

Cristina Wilson   The year of the Instagram Story

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

Vivian Schiller   Pivot to tomorrow

Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

Trushar Barot   The Jio-fication of India

Niketa Patel   Live journalism comes of age

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

Paul Ford   Go global

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Michelle Ferrier   The year of the great reckoning

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

Basile Simon   We need better career paths for news nerds

Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

Kawandeep Virdee   Zines had it right all along

Jarrod Dicker   Honesty in advertising

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

L. Gordon Crovitz   Serving readers over advertisers

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

Renée Kaplan   The year of quiet adjustments (shhh)

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

Jim Brady   With the people, not just of the people

Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

Manoush Zomorodi   Self-help as a publishing strategy

Sydette Harry   Listen to your corner and watch for the hook

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

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

Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

Carlos Martínez de la Serna   The new journalism commons

Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

Luke O'Neil   The end is already here

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

Borja Echevarría   TV goes digital, digital goes TV

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

Alice Antheaume   Are you fluent in AI?

Nathalie Malinarich   Peak push

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

Ray Soto   VR reaches the next level

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Fortifying social media from automated inauthenticity

Tanya Cordrey   Finally, the seeds of radical reinvention

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

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

Mariano Blejman   News games rule

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI

Molly de Aguiar   Good journalism won’t be enough

Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

Raney Aronson-Rath   Transparency is the antidote to fake news

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

Sally Lehrman   Trust comes first

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

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

Ruth Palmer   Risks will grow for news subjects — especially minorities

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

Nushin Rashidian   Publishers seek ad dollar alternatives

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

Rodney Gibbs   Tech workers turn to journalism

Claire Wardle   Disinformation gets worse

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Jake Levine   The return to now

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

Rodney Benson   Better, less read, and less trusted

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

Lam Thuy Vo   Breaking free from the tyranny of the loudest

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

Vanessa K. DeLuca   Women’s voices take center stage

Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

Sue Schardt   Jump the niche

Amie Ferris-Rotman   More female reporters abroad (please)

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   Skepticism and narcissism

Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

An Xiao Mina   Memes and visuals come to the fore

Will Sommer   The year local media gets conservative

Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

John Keefe   Scooped by AI

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

Cindy Royal   Your journalism curriculum is obsolete

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

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

P. Kim Bui   The reckoning is only beginning

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Seeking trust in fragmented spaces

Feli Sánchez   The year for guerrilla user research