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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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A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

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

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Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

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

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John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

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

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

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Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

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Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

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

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Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

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

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

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Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

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Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

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

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

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

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

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

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

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Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

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

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

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

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

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

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

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

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

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

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

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

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

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

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Hearken   Pivot to people

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

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Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

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

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

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

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

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

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

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

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

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

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

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

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

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

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

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

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

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

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

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

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

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

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

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

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

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

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

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

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

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

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

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

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

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

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

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

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

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

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

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

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust