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.

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

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

Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

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

Lam Thuy Vo   Breaking free from the tyranny of the loudest

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

Jim Brady   With the people, not just of the people

Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

C.W. Anderson   The social media apocalypse

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

Feli Sánchez   The year for guerrilla user research

Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

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

Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

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

Hossein Derakhshan   Television has won

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Renée Kaplan   The year of quiet adjustments (shhh)

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

Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

Alice Antheaume   Are you fluent in AI?

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

L. Gordon Crovitz   Serving readers over advertisers

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

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Mariano Blejman   News games rule

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

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

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

Sue Schardt   Jump the niche

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

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

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

Borja Echevarría   TV goes digital, digital goes TV

Tanya Cordrey   Finally, the seeds of radical reinvention

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

Molly de Aguiar   Good journalism won’t be enough

Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

Burt Herman   Things get real

Basile Simon   We need better career paths for news nerds

P. Kim Bui   The reckoning is only beginning

An Xiao Mina   Memes and visuals come to the fore

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

Rodney Benson   Better, less read, and less trusted

Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

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

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

Raney Aronson-Rath   Transparency is the antidote to fake news

Kawandeep Virdee   Zines had it right all along

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

Claire Wardle   Disinformation gets worse

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

Amie Ferris-Rotman   More female reporters abroad (please)

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

Niketa Patel   Live journalism comes of age

Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Fortifying social media from automated inauthenticity

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

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

John Keefe   Scooped by AI

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

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

Carlos Martínez de la Serna   The new journalism commons

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Debra Adams Simmons   And a woman shall lead them

Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

Ray Soto   VR reaches the next level

Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Sally Lehrman   Trust comes first

Cristina Wilson   The year of the Instagram Story

Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

Nathalie Malinarich   Peak push

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

Jake Levine   The return to now

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

Cindy Royal   Your journalism curriculum is obsolete

Trushar Barot   The Jio-fication of India

Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

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

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   Skepticism and narcissism

Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

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

Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

Michelle Ferrier   The year of the great reckoning

Will Sommer   The year local media gets conservative

Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

Paul Ford   Go global

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Seeking trust in fragmented spaces

Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

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

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Ruth Palmer   Risks will grow for news subjects — especially minorities

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

Umbreen Bhatti   The trust problem isn’t new

Rodney Gibbs   Tech workers turn to journalism

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

Vivian Schiller   Pivot to tomorrow

Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

Jamie Mottram   From pageviews to t-shirts

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Luke O'Neil   The end is already here

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

Sydette Harry   Listen to your corner and watch for the hook

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Manoush Zomorodi   Self-help as a publishing strategy

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

Andrew Losowsky   The year of resilience

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

Lanre Akinola   Making noise is not a strategy

Vanessa K. DeLuca   Women’s voices take center stage

Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

Jarrod Dicker   Honesty in advertising

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

Nushin Rashidian   Publishers seek ad dollar alternatives