2
0
1
9

Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

“In 2019, the media’s insistence on biting the hand that feeds it will drive it to examine the new biases and shortcomings of the new gatekeepers of attention.”

Three factors will reshape journalism in 2019: the pressing need for ad-supported publishers to find new revenue streams, the unusual effects of looking at reader engagement through the lens of subscriptions, and the question of where the news habit that Facebook created in a new generation of news readers will end up taking them next.

The imperative to diversify revenue

Do you want dine with the Times and shop with the Guardian? Wear the New Yorker and chat with the Telegraph? All this and more will be possible in 2019, as publisher business models undergo a radical transformation. Conventional subscriptions and memberships and loyalty programs will abound and develop, but for the vast majority of readers in countries such as the U.K., Canada and Germany, journalism’s irresistible price point of zero will prove hard to shift.

This will drive publishers into events businesses, e-commerce, consulting, and other areas as publishers have their portal moment, leveraging reach and trust to move sideways into businesses never envisioned — and, in doing so, hopefully finding significant new streams of cash. Whether they re-invest it into a core product or use it to develop whole new businesses will be the mark of real innovation, but the overall effect will be a positive step towards sustainability.

Subscriptions

The continued shift to subscriptions and the flight-to-quality it represents will be aided ably by the same platforms that shaped the digital advertising industry, whose most cynical leaders perhaps see it as an opportunity to deflate competition from publishers for ad dollars. For traditional publishers who had an under-leveraged older audience with disposable income the path to reader revenue is relatively straightforward in places like the U.S. and the Nordics. But for challenger brands created in the disruption of the past 15 years of platform publishing with younger (and therefore, thanks to the global recession, often relatively lower income) readers the way forward is less clear. Many of these brands have already come unstuck struggling under the expectations of venture capital, falling prey to the dangerous Silicon Valley delusion of inexorable hockey stick growth.

The reality for most media business models will be far more mundane. Will younger audiences in 2019 apply the pricing approaches of cord-cutting to journalism and write off a trendy news subscription in the same part of their monthly budgets as Netflix? Or will the deep commoditization of news mean there is always someone to fulfill that news need for free? For the good of journalism overall, 2019 will need to see conscious efforts to address underserved audiences unwilling or unable to pay for news and avoid losing the platform era’s tendency to shape coverage that reflects audiences’ real wants and needs.

The Facebook refugees

At the time we called it a Facebook habit, but looking back was it actually a news habit in a Facebook wrapper? Since Facebook pulled journalism out of the newsfeed over the past year, users have just shifted their news routine elsewhere on their smartphones, with the main beneficiaries human-edited platforms such as Apple News, Upday and Flipboard.

Human editors sound like a good thing, but next year we’ll see whether they’re really better than algorithms at all things, with unscalable humans manning closed platforms pitted against technology’s power to personalize and prioritize and the basic openness of the last generation of platforms.

In 2019, the media’s insistence on biting the hand that feeds it will drive it to examine the new biases and shortcomings of the new gatekeepers of attention. We may end up uneasy with what we find.

Jack Riley is the international strategy director at HuffPost.

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

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

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

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

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

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

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

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

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

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

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

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

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

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

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

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

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

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

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

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

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

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

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

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

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

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

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

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

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

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

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

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

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

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

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

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

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

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

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

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

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

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

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

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

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

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

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

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

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

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

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

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

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

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Hearken   Pivot to people

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

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

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

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

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

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

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

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

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

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

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

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

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

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

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

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

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

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

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

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

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

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

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

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

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

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

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

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

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

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