2
0
1
9

Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

“Shouldn’t sources and communities be able to read stories that are written about them?”

The dominant mindset in media is that journalists are the ultimate arbiters of information and know best what stories to tell and how to find them. And despite leaps and bounds in technology, newsrooms sometimes offer audiences limited options when presenting complex stories, like a long-form text story or audio episode. But there are encouraging signs that this is changing on a number of fronts, and that even more progress will be made in 2019.

There have been changes in user experience that give readers more options about how to digest information, acknowledging that not all readers have time or patience to read a 6,000-word story, for example. The New York Times now produces shorter explainers for some of its long-form pieces, like its Trump family tax investigation and its new Les Moonves investigation. Earlier this year, the Guardian U.S. Mobile Innovation Lab produced a one-episode podcast that allows the reader to receive links and images in sync with audio to explore the content both visually and auditorily. This month, the Desert Sun published a two-year-long investigation in which it asked readers how much time they have and give them different content options based on the number of minutes it will take to consume them. More user-friendly experiences are on the horizon as newsrooms recognize different content consumption habits.

User experience also includes making relevant content available to non-English speakers. Shouldn’t sources and communities be able to read stories that are written about them? Some newsrooms are recognizing this, and translating stories that affect immigrant communities or foreign countries. While this adds additional time and costs to the reporting process, it’s important to make sure our journalism reaches the people who need the information the most.

Audiences are increasingly becoming an integral part of the reporting process, thanks in part to a reimagining of audience engagement and evangelizing by companies like Hearken and Groundsource. This year, media outlets from Vox to Reveal executed crowd-powered projects that rely on audiences to fuel reporting. And some places, like WBEZ’s Curious City and start-up Outlier Media, depend on audiences to guide the direction of their reporting. At ProPublica, listening to the public is the heart of how our engagement team works. For example, this year my colleagues reported a story on layoffs of senior employees at IBM, which they uncovered by asking readers over the age of 50 to tell us their stories about discrimination in the workplace. The project I manage, Documenting Hate, is largely driven by tips submitted from the public to ProPublica and our coalition of more than 160 newsrooms. More journalists will incorporate audiences into the beginning of the reporting process — and not just the end, as the consumer.

Finally, this year has seen continued experimentation in how to involve audiences directly in reporting. Jay Rosen’s Membership Puzzle Project launched the Join the Beat initiative, in which 11 journalists are sourcing knowledge and participation from audiences through a “networked beat.” Rosen is also working on launching The Correspondent, the American version of a Dutch media company fully funded by members. Those members are a central part of the reporting process, and reporters ask them to share their expertise and experience around specific topics.

Given all the progress made this year, I hope we see even more audience-centric strategies next year, from more creative tl;dr solutions for longform to incorporating the public into the reporting process. With all of the excellent work to take inspiration from, newsrooms should think about audience needs as part of their overall strategy and continue to incorporate engagement efforts into their reporting workflows.

Rachel Glickhouse is partner manager for ProPublica’s Documenting Hate project.

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

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

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

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

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

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

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

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

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

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

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Hearken   Pivot to people

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

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

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

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

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

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

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

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

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

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

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

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

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

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

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

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

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

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

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

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

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

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

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

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

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

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

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

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

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

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

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

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

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

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

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

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

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

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

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

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

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

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

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

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

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

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

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

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

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

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

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

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

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

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

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

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

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

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

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

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

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

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

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

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

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

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

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

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

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

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

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

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

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

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

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

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

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

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

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

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

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?