2
0
1
9

Seriously: What do you do for people?

“We talk constantly about pageviews and engagement rates, circulation stats and Nielsen ratings, subscriptions and donation rates, but all that happens when we successfully offer something to human beings that is of value to them.”

In 2019, we will be asking: “What do we do for people?” And I don’t mean writing some piece-of-corporate-hogwash mission statement full of buzzwords no one understands. I mean we’ll be getting clear about what it is you give your readers, listeners, or viewers. Journalism outlets, journalists, and everyone who works for an organization that does journalism needs to know what they are doing for people.

We talk constantly about pageviews and engagement rates, circulation stats and Nielsen ratings, subscriptions and donation rates, but all that happens when we successfully offer something to human beings that is of value to them. Knowing what we do for people also keeps us clear about why we are doing what we are doing. It helps us know whether we are doing things for the right reasons.

My team uses the NPR One algorithm to personalize and localize podcasts and public radio content on a variety of platforms, from smart speakers to cable boxes. Personalization gets a bad rap for creating filter bubbles, but editorial algorithms can also be used to try to widen people’s horizons, as well by exposing them to other points of view. The team that works on the NPR One systems is very clear that we use the algorithm to get our listeners a blend of localized news and a dose of serendipity that expands their understanding of their community, country, and world.

When I was in charge of content at Michigan Radio, we thought about our role as helping people “understand their state.” It was a literal statement about helping people understand what was happening in the state of Michigan, and a metaphorical statement about helping them understand their personal state as a citizen of the world. We chose what to cover, what to air, and what community conversations to participate in based on whether it would in fact help people understand their state.

Likewise, NPR, PRX, and a number of member stations are working on a project called “Culture of Journalism.” It’s an effort to ensure that everyone in public media is adhering to common ethics and values. But ultimately it’s really about encouraging stations and journalism creators in public media to do things because it helps create trustworthy journalism for our audience, rather than because it feathers our personal or organizational nests.

Our industry faces so many challenges — the political powers that be, financial pressures as our business models evolve, technology shifts, and new competition. In 2019, I’d argue the most powerful tool we have is knowing very clearly what it is we are trying to do for our audience. That way they too will be clear about what they can expect and value from us. Something that becomes even more important as people get their information by asking Alexa, Google, Siri, or Bixby for it.

Tamar Charney is managing editor of NPR One.

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

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

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

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

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

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

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

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

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

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

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

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

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

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

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

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

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

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

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

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

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

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

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

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

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

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

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

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

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

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

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

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

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

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

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

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

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

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

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

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

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

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

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

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

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

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

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

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

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

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

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

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

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

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

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

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

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

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

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

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

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

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

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

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

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Hearken   Pivot to people

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

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

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

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

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

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

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

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

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

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

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

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

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

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

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

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

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

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

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

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

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments