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Huge demand for…anything but politics

“We’ve been moving away from the publishing of static web pages for some time. We’ll now move away from putting our distribution in the hands of others.”

My 10 predictions for 2019:

1. News organizations will focus on owning their data and their destiny. The futile effort of asking platforms “May I please have my audience data please?” will cease in favor of defining and prioritizing success on our own platforms and on our own terms.

2. Transparency efforts will increase. I’m part of a group convened by the Knight Foundation and the Aspen Institute to explore media, trust, and democracy. One finding in our upcoming report is the importance of showing your work and demystifying the journalistic process. Campaigns like “Facts First” from CNN and that ominous “Democracy Dies in Darkness” from The Washington Post are critical brand messages. In 2019, we’ll go a step further and see more of the “how we got the story” genre, more overt explanations of the connection between journalism and democracy, and more clarity around what we change in our stories and why.

3. There will be great momentum to break away from the addictive nature of endless and empty feeds. Journalists will engage more with audiences and communities they seek to serve. More time will be spent out from behind screens, connecting with people IRL or using digital tools to connect at a more personal level.

4. Digital programming and distribution will get more nuanced, and more fun. We’ve been moving away from the publishing of static web pages for some time. We’ll now move away from putting our distribution in the hands of others. 2019 will bring more experiments with adaptive programming and content recommendation services.

5. Climate coverage will amp up and breakthrough. It’s past time. Audience interest is there. So is the urgency — the 2030 IPCC report was a big wakeup call. This is the year to go broader and deeper on all aspects of the climate change story. We’ll see better daily coverage and more head-turning enterprise and investigations.

6. There will be big swings in all things politics. 2019 is no prep year for the 2020 election — it’s game on. We’ll see more investigative reporting plus new ideas and innovative approaches to covering the campaign, the White House, and this remarkable moment in American and world history.

7. Newsletters up. Podcasts down.

8. 2019 will be the year of the deepfake. It will therefore be the year journalists — and hopefully audiences — get literate, trained up, and ready to combat the next level of disinformation.

9. Because Trump and all things politics will continue to dominate the news cycle, 2019 will also be the year of counterprogramming. Anyone with a Chartbeat account can see audiences crave a mix of nonpolitical news. Doing this well is important for our audiences and for the business of journalism.

10. Security and privacy will continue to be a concern. There’s a lot of carelessness still going on (password = “password,” anyone?) and bad actors are still at large. I predict we won’t see good news on this in 2019, but rather more hacks and a greater interest in what people, businesses, and governments can do to protect themselves.

Meredith Artley is editor-in-chief and senior vice president of CNN Digital Worldwide.

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