2
0
1
9

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

“In the end, the platform fracturing will continue.”

A whole host of companies will keep vying to replace Facebook traffic for publishers. And they’ll make a lot of money in the process. We saw this start in 2018, with a range of companies — from niche ones like Pocket and Audm all the way up to Flipboard, Twitter, and Apple News — make big pushes to woo publishers with more traffic and promises of partnerships that reward high-quality content. They’re capitalizing on the vacuum left by Facebook, which has turned into a trickle of traffic where it used to be a fire hose, thanks to Zuckerberg’s algorithm changes and more people opting to stop using the platform (#fakenews). These companies, positioning themselves as publishers’ friends, will experiment with their business models and curation strategies to figure out the best way to make money from mags and newspapers. Pocket’s model of selling its custom newsletters to publishers — a dual marketing and traffic play — will prove to be the most successful for small- to medium-size brands. In the end, the platform fracturing will continue.

The publishers’ CMS wars will begin. Every publisher that hasn’t built its own custom CMS — and even some that have — will get on-board with offerings from Vox (Chorus) and Washington Post (Arc). These media companies will continue to expand their tech platforms as a way to bring in new revenue. At the same time, there will be a concerted effort to get most national publishers of note on the same CMS, in the name of solidarity in the face of Facebook and Google. Vox Media and the Washington Post will compete to design the best ones and publishers will reap the benefits — bonuses like sophisticated drafting tools, integrated paywall and subscription monitoring software, and built-in newsletter platforms. My money is on Arc to surpass Chorus in 2019, with all that Bezos investment.

A lot of magazines without a clear identity and with a lot of competitors are going to go under. Some of the highly valued, VC-backed publications (looking at you, BuzzFeed and Vice) are going to stumble in 2019 when the U.S. slides into another recession and the appetite for expensive native content goes down with it. Some of these publishers are already strapped — Mic! — due to changing revenue streams and less predictable traffic spigots. Magazines that were able to coast along in the golden days of Facebook traffic and easy-peasy delivery on ad impressions will come to rely on their high-quality content that adds value for readers. If these publishers are going to survive, their readers will need to be loyal and willing to pay for content.

Axie Navas is the digital editorial director at Outside magazine.

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

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

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

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

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

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

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

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

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

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

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

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

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

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

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

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

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

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

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

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

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

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

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

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

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

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

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

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

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

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

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

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

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

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

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

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

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

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

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

Hearken   Pivot to people

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

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

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

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

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

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

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

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

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

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

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

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

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

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

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

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

Juleyka Lantigua   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

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

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

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

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

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

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

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

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

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

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

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

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

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

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

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

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

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

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

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

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Joshua P. Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

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

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

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

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

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

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

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

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

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

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

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

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

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

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

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

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods