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The year of loyalty

“Gone are the days of aggregation by small and medium-sized brands. Gone are the days of chasing traffic. Gone are the days of one-size-fits all splashy marketing campaigns.”

Loyalty goes two ways for news organizations. Readers show them loyalty, but increasingly news organizations are learning how important it is to be loyal to their readers. In the next year, the most successful media companies will be the ones that focus on readers who are core to their audience and reward them for their readership.

Gone are the days of aggregation by small and medium-sized brands. Gone are the days of chasing traffic. Gone are the days of one-size-fits all splashy marketing campaigns. Today we are learning how to build targeted relationships with readers. That means finding new ways to reach them — and to keep them coming back.

At Stat, a site devoted to health, medicine and science, we are relentlessly focused on our audience. We publish both free content and paywalled content. For subscribers, we offer exclusive content and access to webinars and events, among other benefits.

But regardless we are determined to make sure readers know we are delivering them value. Every day, we’re thinking not only of what stories to write but a more fundamental question: are readers getting their money’s worth? Every day, we’re thinking of ways to remind readers of the value we’re giving them — not only through the journalism itself but through targeted emails.

Just as critical in attracting a loyal subscriber base is keeping our existing ones loyal. We pride ourselves on doing whatever we can to keep cancellations to a minimum.

The encouraging news is that quality watchdog journalism is fundamental to building loyalty. One running story that has brought Stat more subscribers than we imagined has been our pieces about how the Watson supercomputer wasn’t living up to the lofty expectations that IBM created for its health initiative. Not a story that people need to know for a specific business purpose, but wanted to pay for because of the larger issues it raises about new technology — and hype.

As we all look for sustainable journalism models, we’re finding a solution in our efforts to deliver quality content and build subscriber bases, and I think we’ll see that even more in 2019.

Rick Berke is the executive editor of Stat.

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

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

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

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

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

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

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

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

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

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

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

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

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

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

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

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

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

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

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

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

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

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

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

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

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

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

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

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

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

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

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

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

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

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

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

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

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

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

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

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

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

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

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

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

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

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

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

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

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

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

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

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

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

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

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

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

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

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

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

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

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

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

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

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

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

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

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

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

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

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

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

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

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

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

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

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

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

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

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

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

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

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

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Hearken   Pivot to people

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

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

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

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning