2
0
1
9

Fight the urge to run away from social media

“The bad guys — the fake-news makers, bots, trolls, and scammers — will gladly take over the community organizer roles we leave vacant. They’re pretty good at this sort of thing.”

The news industry these past few years has been a middle schooler with low self-esteem, trailing around after the popular kids at Facebook, letting them copy our homework and take our lunch money in hopes that we might have some of that success rub off on us.

As in every teen movie ever made, this plan didn’t work. Hitching one’s proverbial wagon to social and technology platforms won’t ever make up for not having a viable business model. While it’s a good idea for news companies to rethink their business strategies with the likes of Facebook — journalists shouldn’t be so quick to jump ship altogether.

I’m friends with a lot of journalists on social media — too many, probably — and I’ve seen the flood of hand-wringing posts about “Why I’m leaving X social platform.” That’s taking the easy way out.

In 2019, we have to get back to the social part of social media or risk being left out of the conversation altogether. The bad guys — the fake-news makers, bots, trolls, and scammers — will gladly take over the community organizer roles we leave vacant. They’re pretty good at this sort of thing.

(Note: I’ll be the first to admit that I am a social media apologist. I have spent more than 10 years traveling the world like Harold Hill, selling Twitter and Facebook to the masses. Today, telling people I still use Facebook is like telling them how much I still love Kanye West.)

There are lot of good reasons not to trust the platforms. There’s the disinformation, the total decimation of the digital advertising market, the selling and misuse of user data, the crazypants palace intrigue, the turning a blind eye to abuse, etc.

As journalists, we need to get over all of that. Facebook and its subsidiary tools like Instagram and WhatsApp are where billions of people still come together, which means we still have to be there too.

You may find this hard to believe, but one time, journalists joined social media to talk to the audience. There was no advertising play, no payouts to produce videos, no thirsty posts to gin up metrics to impress the shareholders — just people talking to other people in their communities. It was a beautiful time to be alive.

The problem with that practice — then and now — is that it takes a lot of work to do well. It requires that we ask questions and also answer them, that we keep the peace, think carefully about what we share, update often, and most of all, always be paying attention.

So please, journalists, make this the year you delete your pending goodbye dissertations and get back into the conversation. If not you, someone else will.

Mandy Jenkins is a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

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

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Errin Haines Whack   Say it with me: Racism

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

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

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

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

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

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

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

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

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

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

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

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

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

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

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

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

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

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

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

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

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

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

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

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

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

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

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

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

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

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

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

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

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

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

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

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

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

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

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

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

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

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

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

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

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

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

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

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

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

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

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

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

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

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

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

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

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

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

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

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

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

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

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

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

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

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

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

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

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

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

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Hearken   Pivot to people

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

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

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

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

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

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

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

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

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

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

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Cătălina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

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

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

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS