2
0
1
9

The homepage makes a comeback

“Publishers can’t control what Facebook or Twitter or Google or Apple will do in 2019. But they can control the homepage.”

A few years ago — just as Facebook traffic to publishers was beginning to soar — media watchers pronounced homepages dead. Consumption habits were changing; audiences were getting more of their news via social media platforms and homepage traffic was plummeting. An executive I worked with in 2012, discussing the dawn of the social news era, proclaimed at the time: “Websites are the Rust Belt of the internet.”

Today, the social news bubble has burst. Facebook traffic has plummeted and publishers are focused on diversifying their growth strategies. Audiences are exhausted, the news cycle is more intense than ever, and feeds are cluttered with noise and fake news. It’s harder to figure out whether you can trust the things you see on social media.

But audiences know which sources they trust. And what better way to visit a source you trust than typing a URL directly into your phone’s browser and checking out what’s on their homepage? The homepage visit is the ultimate indicator of loyalty: It’s the repeat visitor who spends time reading multiple stories in each visit. Visiting a homepage allows news consumers to actively take control of their consumption habits, rather than passively waiting for things to be served to them through algorithm-powered social media channels. Engagement-driven algorithms allowed low-quality websites to game the Facebook algorithm with stories that drove other more important or higher-quality stories out of the News Feed entirely. But your favorite website’s homepage won’t let you down, and thoughtful homepage editors work to serves you the stories you need to know about each day to be a smarter, more informed consumer.

In 2019, publishers shouldn’t forget about their homepage strategy. Thinking about how best to serve and understand the readers who visit it — and how to maximize how long they stick around — will be key to developing loyalty, trust, and growth. Publishers can’t control what Facebook or Twitter or Google or Apple will do in 2019. But they can control the homepage.

Nisha Chittal is engagement editor at Vox.

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

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

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

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

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

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

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

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

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

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

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

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

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

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

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

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

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

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

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

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

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

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

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

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

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

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Hearken   Pivot to people

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

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

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

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

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

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

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

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

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

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

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

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

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

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

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

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

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

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

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

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

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

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

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

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

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

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

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

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

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

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

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

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

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

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

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

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

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

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

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

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

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

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

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

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

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

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

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

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

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

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

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

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

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

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

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

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

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

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

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

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

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