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Pivot to journalism

“We need to build and sustain trust in our audiences. And yes, ‘audiences’ not ‘audience,’ because digital news consumers are not monolithic, and neither should be the ways we look at them.”

To see what lies ahead on the road for journalism, all we have to do is look back.

While chasing technology trends and platforms, trying to figure out business models to sustain digital media, many publishers lost sight of something essential: people. The core values of journalism and how they address our audiences’ needs were eclipsed by the chase for clicks and views in the name of growth.

In 2019, we need to double down in the quality of our journalism, regardless of the medium or platform in which we execute it. As it turns out, numbers don’t really mean much in a vacuum, without context, particularly when some platforms have been known to artificially inflate or report them inaccurately. In order to get back on track with our audiences, we need to pivot to the core values of journalism.

Digital audiences have continued to evolve and our publications need to reflect that. Audience interactions with the news are more nuanced and our audiences now have different expectations from us. The Internet is no longer seen as a place where everything is free. Paying for digital services, entertainment, and information has become more common. Whether driven by quality, convenience, a desire to show support, or any of a number of other reasons, there is now a different perception of information’s value, and people are paying for it. When audiences feel we are reflecting and serving them, or providing value to their lives, they’re more likely to support our journalism via memberships, subscriptions, or donations.

As we continue to cover a nonstop news cycle and systematic misinformation efforts, we need to build and sustain trust in our audiences. And yes, “audiences” not “audience,” because digital news consumers are not monolithic, and neither should be the ways we look at them.

As journalists, we need to be thorough and fair in our reporting. We need to seek out diverse points of views and be more inclusive in who speaks in our stories. We need to understand who we’re writing and reporting our stories for and the best ways to tell those stories. We need to know where our audiences are and how to meet them there. We need to bridge our knowledge gaps between the stories we report and the platforms we use to distribute them. We need to have a better understanding of what barriers people have to access our journalism and help them overcome them. We need to listen, ask questions, and apply that same relentless curiosity we put towards getting a story right to understanding the way we work, the audiences we are serving, and how our industry is changing because of them.

Charo Henríquez is a senior editor for digital transition strategy at The New York Times.

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A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

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

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Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

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Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

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LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

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

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Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

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Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

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

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

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

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

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Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

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Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

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Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

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Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

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Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

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Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

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Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

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Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

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

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Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

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Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

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Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

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Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

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Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

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Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

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Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

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Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

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Hearken   Pivot to people

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

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

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

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

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