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Text hits a tipping point

“Text is affordable to produce, but it’s also affordable for others to repost and adapt.”

Sic transit gloria scripturam.

In 2019, the written word will begin to taper as the primary vehicle of journalism. It’s been a long time coming: Video, graphics, podcasts, and interactives have all been bubbling, and in 2019 we may approach a tipping point.

This transition makes good business sense: Text is affordable to produce, but it’s also affordable for others to repost and adapt. More sophisticated formats are more distinctive. As publishers move towards subscription-supported models, richer content can be more unique, engaging, and memorable. Done well, it can also be evergreen, as it can be leveraged across story packages whenever relevant themes are in the news.

There are significant barriers to this evolution in formats. One of the largest may be the cultural gap between editorial and technology. Journalism schools and newsroom structures have been moving towards more hybrid programs and projects, but the transition is incomplete. Nonetheless, successful examples of non-traditional formats will snowball, building momentum around strong, impactful, cost-effective journalism that is more than written words and occasional photos.

You’ll know we’ve arrived when Nieman Lab’s predictions for the coming year are not primarily text. Look forward, instead, to short videos, animated GIFs, mini-podcasts, and cartoons. When you see it here, you’ll know we’re arriving.

Justin Kosslyn is head of product management at Google Jigsaw.

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Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

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

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

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

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

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

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

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

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

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

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

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Cătălina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Errin Haines Whack   Say it with me: Racism

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

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

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Hearken   Pivot to people

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

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

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

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

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

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

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

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

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

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

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

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

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

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

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

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

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

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

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

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

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

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

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

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

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

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

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

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

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

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

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

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

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

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

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

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

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

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

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

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

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

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

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

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

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

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

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

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

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

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

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

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

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

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

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

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

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

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

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

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

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

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

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

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

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

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

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

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

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

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

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

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

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions