2
0
1
9

A bright — and young — year for audio

“Already mobile-tethered and expecting content on demand, young people are a prime audience for this evolution of audio-based news.”

As any Nieman Lab reader knows all too well, audiences have progressively sagged for most segments of the news media over the last many years. But radio bucks that trend. Over the last nine years, terrestrial radio (which of course includes formats beyond news) has held steady, and public radio’s audience actually grew over the last couple of years. That’s encouraging.

Moving from terrestrial to digital, the audience landscape is even more auspicious for audio news. Podcast adoption continues to rise (and what an embarrassment of riches we have in terms of content). On-demand services like NPR One are growing. And smart speakers are sleeping giants for news.

Currently, smart-speaker users lean hard on music, but news consumption is growing. Privacy concerns aside, consumers continue to gobble up these talking speakers, and news organizations are experimenting on them. Will this lead to bigger audio news audiences? It sure looks that way. A year ago, 4 percent of NPR’s livestreaming listeners tuned in through smart speakers; this year, it’s 19 percent. Add to that Google’s recently announced plan to launch a voice-driven version of Google News, which will make it easier to discover audio content. The upshot is smart-speaker users will likely find, share, and consume more audio news content next year.

That’s not much of a prediction, though. It’s more of an observation of emerging trends.

I think where it gets interesting is with young adult listeners. Already mobile-tethered and expecting content on demand, they’re a prime audience for this evolution of audio-based news.

It’s not just tech. Politics also fuels my prediction. Young people turned out in high numbers for the 2018 midterms. Much of that civic engagement energy evaporated after election day, but some of it will persist and manifest in new news consumption habits — namely smart, accessible audio news that’s easily discoverable and always ready on demand.

For innovative newsrooms able to invest time and resources into figuring out how to adapt audio content to these new platforms, there’s a young and perhaps sizable audience to be found.

Rodney Gibbs is chief product officer of The Texas Tribune.

Hearken   Pivot to people

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Jenée Desmond-Harris   It finally sinks in that some people aren’t white

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Frank Mungeam   Tonight at 11: News, sports, and climate change

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Mike Rispoli and Craig Aaron   Government funds local news — and that’s a good thing

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Tushar Banerjee   Interactive ads will be the new face of display advertising

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Glyn Mottershead and Martin Chorley   When a tech company pulls the plug on your story

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

An Xiao Mina   The death of consensus, not the death of truth

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Umbreen Bhatti   The story doesn’t end for the people we quote

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Carrie Brown-Smith   Advocating a healthy civic life is no journalistic crime

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Jennifer Dargan   You don’t build diversity through one-off training sessions

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Rebecca Lee Sanchez   We are all actors in the running rampant of political theater

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Cindy Royal   For journalism curriculum to change, its faculty needs disruption

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Jonathan Stray   More algorithmic accountability reporting, and a lot of it will be meh

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Whitney Phillips   Our information systems aren’t broken — they’re working as intended

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   A long, slow slog, with no one coming to the rescue

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Stephanie Edgerly   It’s time to understand the un-audience

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Millie Tran   There is no magic — you’ve got this

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Amy King   We should listen to the kids (especially on Instagram)

Robin Kwong   Tech shouldn’t be the only field pollinating “news nerds”

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Sarah Stonbely   Mapping the local news ecosystem — with scale but detail

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Angilee Shah   The year news orgs say “yes” to real leaders

Raney Aronson-Rath   We learn “digital” doesn’t have to mean “short”

Heather Chaplin   Agree we’re partisan — for the democratic system

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Alyssa Zeisler   We expand what (and how and who) we serve

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Alexandra Borchardt   Newsrooms need to build trust with their journalists, not just the audience

Adam B. Ellick   Video forensic reporting goes mainstream — and local

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

james Wahutu   Think 2018 was bad? Wait until you see 2019

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Amy Schmitz Weiss   Local news isn’t where you thought it was

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau   A more sincere definition of “community”

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Jesse Holcomb   We’ll get better at making the case for local journalism

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Hossein Derakhshan   The news is dying, but journalism will not — and should not

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Matt Waite   “I went to Node.js because I wished to live deliberately”

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Tyler Fisher   This is journalism’s do-or-die moment

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Axie Navas   The traffic hunt, CMS battle, and magazine identity crises loom

Kevin D. Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Pia Frey   You can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Elisabeth Goodridge   Yes, they signed up — but our job’s not over

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   The most beautiful sentence in 2019 is “No.”

Frank Chimero   Leave the phone at home and put news on your wrist

Simon Galperin   After capitalism’s fire, journalism’s secondary succession

Cristi Hegranes   A year to invest in the security of local journalists

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Efrat Nechushtai   Journalism wants to be your friend, not your teacher

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Kjerstin Thorson   Time to get mad about information inequality (again)

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Manoush Zomorodi   Tech will do for information overload what it did for mindfulness

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Steve Myers   From trying to cover it all to covering what matters

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Claire Wardle   Forget deepfakes: Misinformation is showing up in our most personal online spaces

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Mike Isaac   The old exit doors for digital media companies are closing

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Seth C. Lewis   The gap between journalism and research is too wide

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Zainab Khan   Publishers whose products can stand up to social media giants will win

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Matt Karolian   Publishers come to terms with being Facebook’s enablers

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Tshepo Tshabalala   Ahead of African elections, unlock partnerships with fact-checkers

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence