2
0
1
9

The nationalization of political news will accelerate

“In this election cycle, the old saying that ‘the real presidential campaign begins after Labor Day’ might refer to 2019, not 2020.”

In 2016, news about the leading presidential candidates, particularly Donald Trump, saturated the market. Hillary Clinton earned more than twice the newspaper stories in 2016 that Bill Clinton did in 1992 — and Donald Trump earned 55 percent more than she did. As the news environment nationalizes, politics is too: People care more about what is happening in the politics of Washington than in their own communities.

The nationalization of political news will speed up in 2019, powered by the presidential campaign. The Democratic candidates will command massive media attention in the early primary states, as will their likely eventual opponent, the most dominant earned-media figure in politics.

The decline of local news is a major factor in this trend towards nationalization. Local newspapers are publishing less about their representatives in Washington, leading to lower knowledge about local politicians. In areas where local newspapers close, polarized voting increases: Voters are less likely to split their tickets, voting for the same party up and down the ballot.

Presidential candidates benefit from a weakened local news environment. Trump rode that unprecedented wave of earned media to the Republican nomination, and arguably the presidency. In 2019, his would-be Democratic opponents will encounter local newspapers that are vulnerable and hungry for nationally relevant content. In the early states, where earned media can have the biggest impact, candidates can target their press releases to the Associated Press wire to earn more coverage. Smaller newspapers, which often lack the resources to cover the campaign themselves, are more vulnerable to resource-rich campaigns earning more (and more positive) coverage in the areas where they invest resources. Local newspapers will want to cover the primaries, and campaigns will make it easier for them.

The Democratic primaries will amplify the nationalization of political news, commanding massive amounts of media attention in local and national news alike. In this election cycle, the old saying that “the real presidential campaign begins after Labor Day” might refer to 2019, not 2020. Media attention — even more than the endorsements of party insiders — will be the most valuable currency, and there will be plenty to go around.

Joshua P. Darr is an assistant professor of political communication at Louisiana State University.

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

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

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

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

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

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

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

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

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

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

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

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

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

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

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

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

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

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

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

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

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

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

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

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

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Cătălina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

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

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

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

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

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

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

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

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

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

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

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

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

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

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

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

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

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

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

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

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

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

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

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

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

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

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

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

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

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

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

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

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

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

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

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

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

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

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

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

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

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

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

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

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

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

Errin Haines Whack   Say it with me: Racism

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

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

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

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

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

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

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

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

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

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

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

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

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

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Hearken   Pivot to people

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

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits