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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.

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

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

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

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

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

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

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

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

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

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

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

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

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

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

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

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

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

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

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

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

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

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

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

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

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

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

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

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

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

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

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

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

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

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

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

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

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

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

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

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

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

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

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

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

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

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

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

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

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

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

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

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

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

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

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

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

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

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

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

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

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

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

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

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

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

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

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

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

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

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

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

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

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

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

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

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Hearken   Pivot to people

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

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

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

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

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

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

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

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

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

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

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

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

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news