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The year news orgs say “yes” to real leaders

“It’s not that those in charge now don’t know there are problems. It’s that they too often respond with versions of ‘Yes, but we can’t fix it,’ ‘Yes, but it takes time to fix it’ — or worse, a denial that it’s their problem to fix in the first place.”

We know that our news environment is broken — because it doesn’t represent us, because it proliferates falsehoods, because it devalues those who want to change how we do things. We also know that there are people doing amazing and vital work to uncover truths and tell the stories that help us understand ourselves and the people around us.

The gap between those talented people and systems that should support their work is huge. We need strong leaders to bridge it. I believe that 2019 will be the year that those leaders step up and are given the resources they deserve.

It’s not that those in charge now don’t know there are problems. It’s that they too often respond with versions of “Yes, but we can’t fix it,” “Yes, but it takes time to fix it” — or worse, a denial that it’s their problem to fix in the first place.

So it’s time for leaders with vision to take the reins — from budgets to hiring to key editorial decision-making.

Two things to clarify here: First, this leadership is vital for both the health of our society and the health of our industry. It’s a business imperative — not that that should be the primary case for doing the work needed to create diverse newsrooms.

And second, leadership doesn’t necessarily mean the executive editor or editor-in-chief. It’s the person in the newsroom who controls or affects the way the group responds to internal and external critiques. It’s the one who decides which freelancers to work with and which to pass on. Leadership is especially crucial when day-to-day decisions are made about which stories to cover and how.

Many of us who’ve worked in newsrooms intuitively know what that means. You’re reading or listening to a story in which is a source is labeled by their race or religion as a shorthand — but only if they’re not white — and there was no one in the editing process who might have noticed. Or you’re talking about a story with your team and one person — often a minority in the group in some way — raises a red flag. At that point, the editorial discussion becomes really interesting and the story gets better — or, too often, a leader in the room shuts things down or brushes off the concern. Or you’re talking to an executive because of your concerns about the editorial structure, and they might nod or they might disagree. But they definitely do not take action.

The leaders who step up in 2019 will make decisions on the daily that bring inclusion, that will change the way resources are spent and will improve the news that we all get. They’ll make mistakes and be humble, but they’ll have vision and the will to change.

Like others who write these predictions, perhaps mine is more of a hope. But it’s time. It’s 2019.

Angilee Shah is an independent journalist and editor.

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

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Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

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

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Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

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

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Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

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

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

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Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

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

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

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

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Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

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Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

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

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

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Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

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

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

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

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Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

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

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

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

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Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

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

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

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

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

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

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

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

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

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

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

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

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

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

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

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

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

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

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

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

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

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

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

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

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

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

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

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

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

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

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

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

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