2
0
1
9

A return to destination journalism

“How a reader chooses to spend her time on her phone is our only true competitor.”

Next year will be a bit of a throwback to 2009 in that Google will be a focus for lots of news publishers. It will also remind us of 2007 as we spend time on homepages, have a touch of 2008 as we reassess app offerings, and be a rerun of 2010 and 2011 in the attention we give to aggregators.

Why all the flashbacks?

Google’s importance has grown as publishers have dialed down their focus on Facebook following the algorithm change announcement of January 2018 (though Facebook still drives 24 percent of traffic to publishers, according to data collected by analytics platform Parsely). But while 10 years ago it was a pure desktop search story, heading into 2019 we now pay attention to Google AMP, Google Content Suggestions, and Google Discover.

Homepages, apps, and the kind of destination journalism and product experiences that drive readers to go directly to a site on mobile are crucial in 2019. While the past couple of years have been trying for Facebook-oriented publishers (think Mic, Mashable, Vice, UniLad), the following three facts demonstrate the need for us to focus on driving direct relationships with readers on mobile homepages and apps.

Mobile homepages are more important than some thought

Mobile homepage visitors spend 40 percent more time actively engaging than their desktop counterparts (22 engaged seconds vs. 16 on desktop), Chartbeat reported in June.

When readers can’t access social, they go directly to news sites and apps

How a reader chooses to spend her time on her phone is our only true competitor.

What happened during a 45-minute Facebook outage in August? Direct traffic to publishers’ websites increased 11 percent, while traffic to publishers’ mobile apps soared 22 percent.

What happened when there was an hourlong YouTube outage in October? Publishers had a 20 percent net increase in traffic. Just over half of this increase went to general articles on publisher sites, while articles about the outage comprised a 9 percent lift.

So when a reader can’t access a social network, or when she has satiated her appetite for Instagram, checked her Facebook groups, and cleared her other notifications, she’ll spend time going directly to a trusted news source.

People in the U.S. will spend more time on their phones than watching TV next year

Next year is when mobile will surpass TV as the medium attracting the most minutes in the U.S., according to eMarketer. U.S. adults spent an average of 3 hours and 35 minutes per day on mobile devices this year, a one-year increase of more than 11 minutes. Here in the U.K., Britons spend more than 24 hours a week on their phones.

So as time spent on mobile continues to rise, the battle is not just for the lock screen, but for readers to have our site or app front of mind when they’re thinking of how to spend the next five minutes of phone fiddling.

Sarah Marshall is head of audience growth at Vogue International.

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

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

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

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

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

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

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Hearken   Pivot to people

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

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

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

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

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

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

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

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

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

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

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

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

j. Siguru Wahutu   Think 2018 was bad? Wait until you see 2019

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

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

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

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

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

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

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

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

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

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

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

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

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

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

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

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

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

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

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

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

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

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

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

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

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

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

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

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

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

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

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

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

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

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

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

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

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

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Juleyka Lantigua   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

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

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

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

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

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Joshua P. Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

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

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

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

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

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

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

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

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

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

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

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

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

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

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

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

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

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

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

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

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

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

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

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

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

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

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

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough