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.

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

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

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

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

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

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

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

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

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

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

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

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

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

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

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

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Hearken   Pivot to people

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

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

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

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

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

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

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

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

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

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

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

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Joshua P. Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

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

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

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

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

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

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

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

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

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

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

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

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

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

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

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

AX Mina   The death of consensus, not the death of truth

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

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

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

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

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

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

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

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

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

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

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

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

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

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

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

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

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

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

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

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

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

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

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

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

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

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

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

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

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

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

J. Siguru Wahutu   Think 2018 was bad? Wait until you see 2019

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

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

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

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

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

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

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Juleyka Lantigua   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

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

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

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

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

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

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

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

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

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

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