2
0
1
9

The rise of content “pilots”

“In today’s mobile-driven environment, we need to concentrate on stories and follow them during the course of a news cycle.”

We will continue to see the accelerated tempo of transformation in newsrooms across the world in 2019.

Already, few editors and journalists question the importance of mobile devices, where large numbers of readers are consuming news and information. When I start my workshops in newsrooms globally, I begin by asking the question: How many of your subscribers are now reading your content on the smallest of platforms — the phone? Across four continents the number usually ranges from 65 to 85 percent. Indeed, this is significant and an eye opener when it comes to how editors should transform their newsrooms to become mobile first operations.

Enter the “content manager.”

Such transformation requires the presence of a content manager in the newsroom at all times. What is the role of the content manager? In my view, the content manager is a traffic cop who owns stories and decides how they will be played up from start to finish: Do we begin with a push notification? What are the social media components for promoting the story? How about updates? Finally, in a modern newsroom, the story will be workshopped across platforms, including print. But not all stories need to have a print component.

I characterize stories as having short or long legs. Stories with long legs may have a print component, and not necessarily the same day in which they appear online.

More importantly, and this will be key to success of publications in 2019, it is the content manager who works with reporters and editors to explore the linear, mobile, visual storytelling potential of stories. We read stories on mobile devices differently from how we read a story published for print (this was the subject of my prediction for 2018 and we have seen a rise in the number of stories that are now told in a linear style). When a story is presented in a linear manner, the text narrative and the visual images appear in a continuum, exactly the way we communicate when text messaging. We read and we see.

Content managers may have different names, such as assignment editor, or even “pilots,” a preferred term with German and Scandinavian editors. Regardless of what the name is, the function is one of identifying content early in the process, working with small teams to manage the story throughout the day and making sure that stories are updated regularly if applicable.

With the rise of the content manager comes a concept that I also believe will be quite popular in 2019: the idea of workshopping stories and not concentrating on editions. Traditional editors and journalists are trained to work on editions that have a closing moment — as in tomorrow’s newspaper, or this afternoon’s news broadcast. In today’s mobile-driven environment, we need to concentrate on stories and follow them during the course of a news cycle. There is no planning of an edition as such. Content managers manage three to five stories at a time, which is the reason that a newsroom needs to train as many content managers as possible.

Without a doubt, the content manager will be the person to hire, to train and to give authority in the newsroom for 2019 and beyond. It will be difficult to claim that a newsroom is in the process of transformation without this key person changing the way content is selected and presented in a multi-platform news environment.

Mario García is CEO of García Media and senior adviser on news design and adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

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

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

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

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

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

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

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

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

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

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

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

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

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

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

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

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Errin Haines Whack   Say it with me: Racism

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

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

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

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

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

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

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

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

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

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

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

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

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

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

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

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

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

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

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

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

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

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

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

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

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

Cătălina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

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

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

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

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

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

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

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

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

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

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

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

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

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

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

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

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

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

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

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

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

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

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

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

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

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

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

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

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

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

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

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Hearken   Pivot to people

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

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

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

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

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

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

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

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

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

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

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

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

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

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

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

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

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

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism