2
0
1
9

Old interface, say hello to the new interface

“Can we really build bots to detect bullshit when our own bullshit detectors are subpar?”

Goodbye apps, platforms, news feeds, clickbait, listicles, and other vestiges of the attention economy. It’s over. I know it may not seem like it when you look around your own personal infoscape. I realize that the prevailing mentality of news storytelling still emphasizes getting attention through the prominent news values of drama, instantaneity, personification, closeness to home, and a tabloid mentality that has led to the proliferation of fake news. I understand that when you tune into news via your preferred device, that’s still mostly what you get.

But here’s what is different: You hate it. Not that you ever liked it much to begin with, but you now dislike it more than ever, and you’re (dare I say?) ready to turn it off and focus your attention elsewhere.

Citizens have always been skeptical about such modalities of news content. And research has long shown that this type of coverage only propagates further cynicism directed at the media. Sooner or later, everything that you hate about the news infoscape will drift into oblivion. It will become bland, tasteless wallpaper to your everyday news experience. Not because it will not be generated. But because you are in the process of stopping to pay attention to it.

And given the context, could we take the opportunity to encourage each other to pay less attention to that which has been blatantly designed to attract it? Citizens, play hard to get if that means getting the news coverage you want. Why squander your attention to every clickbait headline or fake news story that comes your way? Don’t be cheap dates. Focus your attention to the things that really matter. In an attention economy, your attention is a powerful commodity. It’s your path to agency. Choose how you focus your attention — your attention is your power.

That said, hello bots, robots, intelligent agents, ambient storytelling textures, augmented and virtual reality environments, and other things that will look nothing like your tablets, laptops, and mobiles. A new interface revolution is underway. But we’re unfortunately still caught up in the process of preventing things that have already happened. A lot of research around journalism today focuses on detecting deepfakes and bot-generated content. Godspeed to those of you doing that work. A question: How can we expect to train bots to detect fake content when we haven’t been able to train ourselves to identify and reject fakes first?

Can we really build bots to detect bullshit when our own bullshit detectors are subpar?

So let’s really embrace the new interface. Let’s not get caught in the trap of finding ways to prevent things that have already happened. Let’s instead imagine how these things will recur, in a different form, in the future. Everything we use today will be irrelevant in a year or a few. Things will be different yet feel completely natural. Social robots are in the process of replacing and absorbing platforms and apps. Ambient media textures, supported by a variety of intelligent agents, augmented, and virtual environments invite us to turn our attention to personal and group communication. Not one-to-many, and not many-to-many — deeply personal yet mediated communication. There’s a new interface revolution in the making. We can learn from the past, but let’s prevent it from trapping us.

Zizi Papacharissi is a professor of communication and political science at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

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

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

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

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

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

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

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

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Hearken   Pivot to people

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

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

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

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

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

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

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

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

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

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

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

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

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

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

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

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

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

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

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

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

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

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

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

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

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

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

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

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

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

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

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

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

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

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

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

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

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

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

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

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

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

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

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

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

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

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

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

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

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

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

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

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

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

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

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

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

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

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

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

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

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

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

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

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

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

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

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

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

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

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

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

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

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