2
0
1
9

Mapping the local news ecosystem — with scale but detail

“In addition to seeing from 30,000 feet, we also need to be able to zoom in and know a journalism landscape as it exists from the vantage of those who live there.”

2019 will see continued, if not increased interest in understanding the local journalism landscape from a bird’s-eye view. Though a relatively new subfield, news ecosystem mapping projects have proliferated, and will continue to do so, as they also become more sophisticated in their methodology and presentation.

The major disruptions to journalism have affected newsrooms at all geographic levels — local, national, and international. And while national newsrooms have largely recovered their footing, the new local journalism business model has taken longer to emerge. Couple that with renewed concern, after the 2016 presidential election, that local news deficits are having more direct impacts on democracy than perhaps was earlier thought, and the urgent need for a comprehensive accounting of the local journalism landscape becomes clear.

The disruption of journalism’s business model, along with the extraordinary political communication environment, have created a deep craving on the part of practitioners, audiences, funders, and academics to understand the journalism landscape from 30,000 feet. But in addition to seeing from 30,000 feet, we also need to be able to zoom in and know a landscape as it exists from the vantage of those who live there — understanding what kind of content is being produced, and how news flows.

News ecosystem mapping is an effort to understand who provides news and how it flows through a community (geographic or otherwise). When not geographically focused, ecosystem mapping looks at a topic, like the evolution of the Trayvon Martin story, or at the influence of partisan media, as in a postmortem of US presidential election coverage. But most ecosystem studies take a geographic focus, usually because we want to understand not only who the news and information providers are, but also where they are missing.

New digital tools are being brought to bear on this problem as those who study journalism team up with data scientists (or become data scientists themselves). With evermore sophisticated methods it will be possible to tackle classic research problems such as depth versus scale, and large-scale content analysis. Results will be able to be presented on user-friendly websites that enable audiences to quickly find local news producers near them, or funders to easily identify news deserts in need of watering.

The need for a scaled but detailed understanding of the local journalism landscape will fuel continued interest in news ecosystem mapping projects going forward, and the eventual fulfillment of this need will bring us that much closer to solving the contemporary journalism crisis.

Sarah Stonbely is the research director at the Center for Cooperative Media.

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

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

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

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

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

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

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

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

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

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

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

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

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

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

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Juleyka Lantigua   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

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

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

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

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

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

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

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

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

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

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

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

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

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

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

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

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

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

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

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

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

Hearken   Pivot to people

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

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

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

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

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

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

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

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

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

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

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

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

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

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

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

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

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

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

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

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

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

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

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

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

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

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

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

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

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

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

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

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

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

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

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

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

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

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

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

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Joshua P. Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

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

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

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

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

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

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

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

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

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

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

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

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

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