2
0
1
9

Being responsible for what we don’t know

“In small media organizations, ‘doing more with less’ has always been a reality — but the implications are catching up.”

There are many things today’s journalists can do: write or record well-documented stories, run social media feeds, produce fantastic multimedia pieces, manage readers’ comments, and increasingly build relationships with their audience that create incredible value for everyone involved.

But the list of things we can’t do — but still have to — is growing longer.

Management, fundraising, marketing, event planning, and a host of other skills are needed in smaller news organizations to keep them alive and give them a chance to thrive. And journalists take on these responsibilities because there’s no one else there.

With no resources to hire externally, tasks either get distributed throughout the existing team, creating “hybrid roles,” or they don’t get done. Most of those in hybrid roles learn as they go along with minimal training, if at all: sometimes from online resources, books, or conversations with people from outside the media industry — and always through trial and error. But for a lot of small media organizations today, there’s no real room for error.

As more media managers reflect on their strengths and weaknesses, a trend spotted at several industry events throughout 2018 — taking stock of the knowledge gaps inside teams — will become more systematic. We’ll be dealing with a heightened sense of self-awareness, related both to the influence our immediate moods have on our colleagues and to our role in the wider media ecosystem. We’ll be putting our predisposition for navel-gazing to good use and hopefully emerge with an action plan.

Finding these weaknesses will be an uncomfortable process, as many newsrooms haven’t built a culture where people feel comfortable sharing doubts about their roles. Traditional newsroom culture dictated that those who couldn’t handle the constant adrenaline and the pace of news production just weren’t cut out for the job. Additionally, non-journalists were rarely involved or consulted until recently, and there was little cross-pollination of best practices between newsrooms and other workplaces. But this is quickly becoming unsustainable, both for the business of news and for the people powering it.

At DoR, we have ambitious plans for 2019, but we know we probably won’t get there in one piece without a more interdisciplinary team or at least some type of “brain trust” to help us along the way. Five of us, including the founding editor, will be doing management training over the next 12 months, and we’re reaching out to experts to help us shape projects in their early stages.

We’ve brought sociologists, community facilitators, and external financial and technology experts into the newsroom to bounce ideas off and, more importantly, get a reality check from outsiders who are a few steps removed from the daily grind and can see the full picture.

In small media organizations, “doing more with less” has always been a reality — but the implications are catching up.

Cătălina Albeanu is digital editor at Decât o Revistă (DoR), a narrative journalism magazine devoted to telling the stories of modern-day Romania.

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

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

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

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

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

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

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

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

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

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

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

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

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

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

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

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

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

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

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

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

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

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

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

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

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

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

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

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

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

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

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

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

Hearken   Pivot to people

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

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

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

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

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

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

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

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

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

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

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

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

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

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

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

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

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

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

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

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

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

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

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

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

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

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

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

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

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

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

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

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

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

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

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

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

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

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

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

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

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

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

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

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

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

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

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

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

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

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

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

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

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

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

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

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

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

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

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”