2
0
1
9

Measuring impact will increase audience trust

“Showing impact will become an essential way to retain and expand the audience for reliable, accurate information. I believe our future depends on it.”

News organizations have gotten very good at measuring things like impressions, reach, and engagement. We are great at determining who is reading our content, how long they spend with it, and how they are sharing it.

What we don’t do well is measure why our content matters. Did a story help anyone make a better healthcare decision, contact a city council member, or spend money more wisely? Did it prompt officials to fix a dangerous traffic intersection, improve services for the homeless or tighten policies that were enabling corruption? In other words, did it lead to something actionable that helped our audiences?

In 2019, the news media will step up its efforts to measure their impact on society, and not just because it will make us feel better. We are facing an unprecedented crisis in media credibility. One way to regain the trust of our audiences — and potential audiences — is to show them that journalism plays a vital role in making their lives better.

The McClatchy newsrooms, for example, are making the case for credibility and trust through their #ReadLocal campaign. It highlights important investigations and stories that have led to concrete changes in the lives of their readers. This initiative goes one step beyond how other news outlets are actively engaging with their audiences through social media, live events, and other activities that were traditionally not part of the newsroom’s work.

The Center for Investigative Reporting, ProPublica, and Gannett are among other media groups that have made a priority of tracking the impact of their stories. Leading the effort for Gannett is Anjanette Delgado, senior news director for digital at the Detroit Free Press. She first helped develop Impact Tracker for the Journal News Media Group, also part of Gannett. The investigative team there felt that traditional audience metrics didn’t capture major changes triggered by their stories. Now, the entire Gannett USA Today Network can use the new tool to determine which stories have the most impact.

The trend reaches beyond U.S. borders. ICFJ Knight Fellow Pedro Burgos has pioneered an impressive tool in Brazil that uses automation to find instances of how journalism creates positive change. His tool is called Impacto, and six media partners in Brazil are using it to scrape public documents, social media, and academic research to reveal when a story made a difference. Impacto can detect whether a story was cited by influencers — such as legislators including it in a bill to fight corruption or city officials citing it as a reason for cleaning up a dump site.

The premise is that by tracking examples of impact and sharing them with audiences, trust in the media will grow. One of the newspapers using Impacto, for example, maps every instance of impact, so when a reader calls to cancel a subscription, staffers can check the map and show the caller how the paper has improved quality of life in that person’s neighborhood.

A big part of Pedro’s project, which is also supported by Google News Lab, is not just to develop and test Impacto. It’s to make media organizations aware of the importance of measuring impact, whatever tool they choose to use. He has spoken about this at conferences throughout the Americas, and met with newsrooms in five countries, including the U.S. The reaction is usually an enthusiastic “Yes! How can we do this?”

In 2019 and beyond, there will be an increasing number of new tools that news organizations can use to do just that. Showing impact will become an essential way to retain and expand the audience for reliable, accurate information. I believe our future depends on it.

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

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

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

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

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

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

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

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

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

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

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

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

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

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

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

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

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

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

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

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

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

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

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

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

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

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

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

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

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

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

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

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

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

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

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

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

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

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

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

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

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

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

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

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

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

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

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

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

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

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

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

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

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

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

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

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

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

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

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

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

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

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

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

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

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

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

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

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

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

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

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

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

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

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

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

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

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

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

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

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

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

Hearken   Pivot to people

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

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

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

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

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

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

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

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts