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.

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

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

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

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

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

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

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

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

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

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

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

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Cătălina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

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

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

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

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

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

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

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

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

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

Hearken   Pivot to people

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

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

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

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

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

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

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

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

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

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

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

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

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

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

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

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

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

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

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

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Errin Haines Whack   Say it with me: Racism

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

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

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

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

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

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

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

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

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

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

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

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

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

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

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

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

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

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

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

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

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

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

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

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

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

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

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

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

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

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

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

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

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

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

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

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

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

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

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

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

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

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

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

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

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

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

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

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