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.

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

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

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

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

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

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

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

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Errin Haines Whack   Say it with me: Racism

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

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

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

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

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

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

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

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

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

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

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

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

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

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

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

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

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

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

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

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

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

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

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

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

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

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

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

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

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

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

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

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

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

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

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

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

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

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

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

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

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

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

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

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

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

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

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

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

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

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

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

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

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

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

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

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

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

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

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

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

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

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Cătălina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

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

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

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

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Hearken   Pivot to people

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

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

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

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

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

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

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

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

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

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

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

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

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

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together